Listen to Him

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).

John Ortberg tells a story of a friend who went cave diving:

My friend Danny went spelunking in the caves of Iowa. The man guiding took him deep underground, then said he would lead Danny through passageway into a spectacular chamber. The passageway was small enough that Danny had to stoop at first. Then as it grew still smaller, he had to get on his hands and knees. Eventually the only way to go forward was to lay on his back and push his body forward with his fee. Then the ceiling was so low that when he inhaled he could not move at all! He had to stop, inhale, and exhale, and only then was his chest low enough to allow him to move. By this point it was physically impossible to back out. If the passageway had gotten any smaller they would have lain there and died in that cave.

Danny is a sky-diving, mountain-climbing, hang-gliding thrill-seeker, but there in that cave he felt sheer panic. He was terrified. He tried fighting his fear, but he kept picturing his dead body moldering in the cave. Finally, he told his guide he was about to lose it, and the guide said, “Danny, close your eyes and listen to my voice. I will keep talking, calmly, and guide you through this. We will be okay. I have been here before. I will get you to the other side. But you must listen to my voice. It will not work for you to let your thoughts run wild. Just focus on my voice.”

Danny did so. What freed him from panic and fear was not trying hard to quit thinking fearful thoughts. It was listening to another voice.

What is true for Danny is true for us. When things are spiraling out of control, when our thoughts are racing, going inward, seeking what our heart desires, etc. only gets us deeper in trouble. What we need is not more of our thoughts, ourselves. What we need is God’s voice.

Listen to him.

Demolish and Take Captive Every Thought

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

If we do not take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, our thoughts will take us captive to make us obedient to it.

Our thoughts are not always good. In fact, our thoughts can be quite destructive and dangerous. Our thoughts need to be checked and managed. Imagine if you acted out on every thought you have on a typical day. It would be catastrophic.

Our thoughts need something outside it that it can be measured by. It needs God’s truth as the rule by which it can be measured. That’s what it literally means to be ruled. It means that the rule of Christ is the measure by which we determine what is good and what is not.

The words “demolish” and “take captive” are written in the present participle active.

  • Present participle – not a one time act but an ongoing, never-ending demolishing and taking captive whenever there are “arguments or pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Whenever it happens, before we allow ourselves to be taken captive by its enticements, we are to demolish and take captive those thoughts that go against God’s truth revealed in God’s word.
  • Active – you have to do it. You have to make it happen. It won’t happen unless you do it. If you do nothing, you have failed to “demolish” and “take captive”. And when we fail to “demolish” and “take captive” our thoughts, our thoughts will demolish and take us captive.

The word for “demolish” in the Greek is literally “overthrow”. I wish the NIV committee kept the original word. You see, thoughts that go contrary to God’s truth revealed in God’s word want to rule over us. It wants to reign over us. Ungodly thoughts are not neutral toward us. It is actively working to overthrow and demolish God’s rule.

If we do not take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, our thoughts will take us captive to make us obedient to it.

So, whenever we come across a thought that is contrary to God’s truth revealed in God’s word…demolish and take captive those thoughts to make them obedient to the rule of Christ. How do we do that? Measure every thought against the truth of God’s word.

Hallelujah is “Praise the LORD”

“Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD” (Psalm 117:1-2).

Praise the LORD is one word in Hebrew. You already know the Hebrew word without even knowing you know it. The word is “Hallelujah!”

Hallelujah literally means “Praise the LORD!”

When we praise and sing worship songs it’s not to get us in the mood to worship God or to hear God’s word. Oh, no. It is so much more. When we praise and sing to God it is a declaration of war against sin and satan. Satan hates when God’s people worship him. You know why? It’s impossible to sin when you’re praising God.

I mean it. It’s impossible. You cannot praise God while sinning!

Singing songs of praise to God is a declaration of war. It is spiritual warfare at its best because that’s when God’s people are at their best.

Praise the LORD!