When a commander prepares for war, he prepares the army. Every soldier disciplines his body with rigorous physical challenges. Every soldier learns survival skills and basic first aid. A good commander will also prepare each soldier’s mind, too. Soldiers must learn strategy, improvisation, navigation, geography, decision making, and immediate obedience. A soldier needs to know how to survive if captured. A soldier needs to know how to capture others, and how to treat someone they have captured.
I don’t know if you’ve ever really thought about it, but meditating on scripture is like preparing for war.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
Meditating on scripture is the key to winning the battle of the mind. Meditating on scripture provides the mental training we need to take our thoughts captive.
After all, once you have a captive, you have to do something with him, right? Dealing with captive thoughts has meditation written all over it!
So, capturing our thoughts of unbelief, rebellion, and disobedience is just the first step. Once we recognize our thinking is muddled by falsehood, we must pause. We need to interrogate our thoughts in the isolation room of truth. We must treat our thoughts with integrity – not dismissing them as insignificant or unimportant. We must find where they have departed from truth (Jesus says, “I am the truth…” John 14:6), and diligently coax them back into obedience.
Meditating on scripture provides the truth we need to evaluate our rebellious thoughts. Meditating on scripture trains us to recognize our unbelief. Meditating on scripture establishes truth to which we can turn. Meditating on scripture shows us the power of our thinking, which must be brought into submission of the Word if we are to truly be obedient to Christ.
How does meditating on scripture prepare us to take our thoughts captive so we can train our minds to obey Christ?
Well, we cannot compare our thoughts to the truth of scripture if we do not know scripture. The first step to recognize an enemy is to recognize your Friend. Scripture teaches us to recognize Jesus along with His truth, His power, and His commands. Then, when we take our thoughts captive, we have something against which to compare them.
Knowing scripture allows us to recognize the difference between friend and foe. Meditating on scripture is the only way to know it well enough to engage in victorious mental warfare.
Over the next several weeks, I’d like to dip into some common areas of mental warfare. We’ll explore meditating on scripture to help us compare conviction vs. condemnation, to begin to move us from obligatory to joyful obedience, to combat selfishness with service, to fight covetousness with contentment, and to replace fear with faith. Incidentally, these common battlegrounds are often great places to determine which verses we need to memorize.