Setting Believers Free from the Prisons of the Mind

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that the “warfare” in which believers in Christ are involved is a well-thought-out “campaign.” The word he uses is strateia, from which we get “strategy.” Specifically, the devil’s battle against Christ-centered wisdom is not an accident. Satan specializes in disguising himself as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). Therefore, the invasion of man-centered counseling philosophy into the church is a well-planned and well-executed war against the sufficiency of Christ and His Word and the transforming power of His gospel.

The weapons of this war are “not of the flesh.” In other words, the war is spiritual, not physical or earthly (Eph. 6:10–17). It is not against men, but against the wisdom of men; “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” Our weapons in this realm are “divinely powerful”; that is, they are empowered by God for the purpose of pulling down “fortresses.” These fortresses are strongholds of the mind, built by the bricks of false philosophy which are “raised up against” Christ. As mental prisons, they hold people captive.

Consequently, the war exists in the realm of ideas that become doctrines, which may then be taught to men as if they were the truth. Colossians 2:8 warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” How are people deceived and held captive? Through false doctrines, as the wisdom of man devalues Jesus Christ and diminishes the power of His gospel.

Unfortunately, much of the pop-counseling philosophy sold to Christians today is in reality Christ-diminishing doctrine disguised as self-help formulas for “successful living,” to which far too many believers have been taken captive. As we counsel one another with biblical truth we must carefully identify and attack the mental prisons and, like the wise man who “scales the city of the mighty,” we must “[bring] down the stronghold in which they trust” (Prov. 21:22). The truth of the gospel will set men and women free from the prison of self-serving ideas that dominate our world.

Featured Resource: Counsel One Another: A Theology of Personal Discipleship

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