Sunday October 26, 2003 | Greg Boyd
5 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.
In Christ, we are radically free from the things that bind us to this world. The problem is that we have been brainwashed and led to believe lies about ourselves that prevent us from being what we were created to be. Do we trust our own thoughts about ourselves and others or do we believe what God says?
Greg returned to some themes that have been present in his previous sermons. The foundational texts are 2 Cor. 10:5 where Paul speaks of taking every thought captive to Christ and Phil. 4:8 where we are instructed to think only on godly things. These two together give us basis for HOW we can become detectives of our own brains.
In the movie clips from “Hook” we see that what was limiting Peter was his imagination. He was unable to believe what was really true about himself. The result was that he could not fly. This may seem normal to us, but in the movie, this person is Peter Pan! And Peter Pan CAN fly! What is tragic is that he had forgotten who he really is and that dragged him down to a level far below his own potential and destiny. Greg picked up the language about being able to “fly” and used that as the primary metaphor for our own destinies and our own potential as heirs to the King, as people who are found in Christ Jesus. In Christ, we too are radically free from the things that bind us to this world. We need to believe and live in the truth of this.
The problem is that we have been brainwashed by the world. We have been led to believe lies about ourselves that prevent us from being what we were created to be. These lies create patterns in our subconscious mind which produce behaviors that we know are not godly. This is what Greg meant by “microchips.” Because these “chips” are “installed” we behave in very predictable ways. Recall the pattern from previous sermons: we encounter some “stimuli” in life, that event “triggers” a “microchip” which in turn flashes a picture or words, we have an emotional response to those pictures or words that are flashed before us and this causes us to behave in a way consistent with that feeling and the deep belief that is associated with this pattern. Since all of this happens so fast, we cannot stop it once it starts. We might be able to suppress the action, but the pattern still has power over us nonetheless.
Greg raised the question: what do we really have faith in? Our behavior tells us that we wrongly place faith in these microchips to be telling us the truth about reality. But we know that biblical faith works differently. Greg directed us to Heb. 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the confident expectation of things not seen.” We need to wrap our minds around the promises of God so that we can begin to live in the reality of God’s will for us. Our thoughts and feelings about ourselves must be conformed to the thoughts and feelings that God says are true about us!
A major part of the challenge that Greg proposed was whether we trusted our own thoughts about ourselves and others or whether we believe what God says is true about us. Especially as we begin to see that much of our behavior is explainable by the pattern of “stimuli-response” we need to realize that we should not trust our own thoughts and feelings without closely examining them to see whether they do indeed conform to what is stated in Phil. 4:8. Greg pointed us to 2 Cor. 10:5 for an example of Paul’s teaching that confirms this. We are to come against arguments and pretensions that oppose what God proclaims to be true of us.
For Peter Pan, he needed to think a “happy thought” to understand the truth about himself. We need to think true thoughts so that we can be free from the bondage of our minds and the world which reinforces these lies. God, though love, teaches us how to “fly” by telling us the truth about who we are. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, did the same thing. He called them “saints” even though they were definitely in bondage to very serious sin. He spoke the truth of who they are into their lives so they could see the contradiction and take their own thoughts captive for Christ. Grace empowers us to reclaim our lives and minds.