By Alan Breitenstein
March 31, 2019
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 10:5:
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
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. What does that mean to take every thought captive?
Whenever there is a war, enemies are captured. Those enemies are interrogated. This verse seems to mean we are to interrogate every thought and bring it to the obedience of Christ. I want to emphasize that this verse says every thought. If we bring every thought captive, then our mind is constantly with Christ. If our mind is constantly with Christ, then we are serving the Lord thy God with our whole heart and mind and strength.
If one looks at this verse of serving the Lord thy God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength they would assume that God wants them to think about Him every moment of the day and every day of one’s life. Other verses will say to love thy neighbor as thyself. I used to think that if we gave all our love to God then how would we have any love to give to our neighbor as well as to ourselves? Ask and you shall receive. We are told in these scriptures:
1 John 4:20: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Matthew 40:25: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
I am learning that no verse is on an island by itself and no verse seems as it appears. There are those who get frustrated with the double talk in the Bible and they just give up reading it, rather than to understand it. There are those who read, only thinking that they are satisfying God and not understanding what they are reading. I know for I have done this.
It wasn't until 3 years ago that I found out why Canaan was cursed for what Ham, his father did. I always wondered but then I asked, and it was explained to me.
Can we help our weaknesses? Well if we do not know we are weak, then how could we possibly know what will make us strong?
When we are indulged in self we are weak. Let’s look at some of our patriarchs for no one is immune, not even Christ.
Abraham was told by God to go to Egypt and when he got there he feared for his life. He told Sarah to tell those who looked upon her that she was the sister to Abraham. Did Abraham have a moment of self to be willing to have Sarah lie with other men for his life to be spared? God intervened. Abraham was once again in the same situation with Abimelech as he was in Egypt and he did the same thing. God once again intervened.
Isaac wasn’t even born and yet he did the same as his father did with Rebecca. God intervened. This shows us that God is a forgiving God, despite our shortcomings of “serpent self”.
Most amazing is that those whom Abraham and Isaac feared ended up giving Abraham and Isaac gifts. They feared the God of Abraham and Isaac. What a wonderful God!
What I find fascinating is that Abraham went on a three-day journey to take Isaac to the mountain to be sacrificed to God. What thoughts had to be going on in the mind of Abraham during that long three-day journey? Questions such as:
Am I sure that the voice telling me to sacrifice Isaac is God's voice?
Why would God tell me that He would multiply my seed to as many as the stars in the sky, and then tell me to sacrifice my heir whom He promised to Sarah and me at such an old age? Where or who would be the heir then?
If I come back without Isaac, what will Sarah do to me?
What about Isaac being bound saying to his father, “What is wrong with you, don’t you love me?”
Abraham had to go through pure misery and pain in this three-day journey and yet Scripture says nothing about him complaining or asking God if this is truly what He wanted him to do. Is this not the same scenario Jesus went through? Three days of pain and misery and both came out on top, defeating the serpent or self.
Now I know that in Genesis 22:1: “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.”
It says that God tested Abraham just as He tested the Israelites in the wilderness.
Well, let’s go down the rabbit hole a little further and ask, If God is pure light then can there be any darkness found in Him? God forbid, for I have been confronted with questions such as: Why would God tell Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Why did God make Esau a vessel of wrath? I thought that the serpent was involved in these incidents.
I thought that the serpent appeared as God and told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Then I was told that these thoughts come from the serpent to create confusion. I thought I was defending God by thinking the serpent was involved. Then I was asked, “Why would God need a fleshly sinful man to defend Him?”
We know that God is pure; that God is light and that anything He does is good. Just because God created evil does not make Him evil. If the Word of God says that it was God speaking, then it was God speaking. This is just an example of the subtlety of the serpent.
Our thinking should avoid putting God on the same level as us. Rather we need to keep God on the Higher level that He is on. God created the evil and passed it down to us so that we would know what is good and evil.
Let’s look at David. David was known to be a man after God’s own heart. When David was with God, he prospered in all he did. But there were times that David allowed self to overcome him, such as with Bathsheba and with taking a census that was forbidden. David’s punishment was great for he:
Lost his son from Bathsheba, and
Lost his son in Absolom, and
Lost much more.
David, being of sound mind repented. If only here were more Davids in the world.
Then there was Solomon. God granted him wisdom; and so much wisdom to the extent that rulers from all over were seeking his wisdom and giving him gifts to learn from him. Then Solomon had gotten a bad case of “self” and had relations with 1000 women he called wives. How much time do you think he had with God, or even his children? Obviously, Rehoboam, his son, followed the self-side of Solomon.
Then there is Jonah, whom God wanted to go to Nineveh to warn them of their coming destruction if they did not change their ways. Jonah was reluctant; he was more into himself than what God wanted. He could not understand why God wanted him to warn of their coming destruction, for they were not God's people. He was discouraged that God did not destroy them. God did not destroy them due to their repentance, and also God needed them in the future to be a whipping rod to His people Israel by way of captivity to Assyria.
This is an example that whatever voice we hear in our thoughts, it would be nice to know that it is God's voice. This is not the case though, for God wants to see how true we are in searching out a matter. Jonah’s case is an example of nations having to repent and change their ways, for God can take only so much of their filthy ways. Their ways may have been destroying themselves and God needed them at a future date. This does not mean that God has a covenant with these people. He just does not want to destroy them until it is their time. They may have been aborting or killing their children, future Assyrians that He needed.
Let’s look at the stellar patriarchs. Job is a man who lost his children, servants, livestock and was inflicted with a disease. His friends were sure he did something to offend God. God allowed the serpent to do what he would with Job--all but take his life. For God was sure Job would not offend Him.
Job was true to God and God restored to Job the riches that were taken from him. Still Job had to have in his thoughts his children and all his servants. Job just continued to come away from the fires that the serpent cast upon him without so much as the smell of self.
Then we have Elijah the prophet. He was so stellar that he did not see death. God gave him the same qualities as His son, Jesus. He healed the widow's son and saw to it she always had flour and oil during the time of the drought. Oh, if we only had the faith of Elijah these days! Honorable mention to John the Baptist as well, whom Jesus said was Elijah.
And Joseph, who was:
son of Jacob
hated by his brothers,
sold to the Egyptians, and
became a successful man.
Joseph was sent to prison and became successful there. He remained in prison for years and did not complain, at least not according to Scripture.
Something I found interesting is:
Genesis 41:32: “And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.”
This verse teaches Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph said, “Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.”
Could this be a clue as to who's speaking in our thoughts? I remember at times being told by my mom and dad, “I am not going to tell you twice” or “I am not going to tell you again.” I wonder what they would have done to me if I told them God determines a matter by repeating. Joseph is the true example of the patriarch we should follow. He never gave up no matter how bad it got, and because of it, he was blessed considerably.
Now no one is immune from the temptations of the serpent. No one is exempt, not even Jesus. When Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, the serpent came to Jesus with the Word of God. In fact, he came to Jesus when Jesus was hungry, just as the serpent rears his head in our weak moments.
Huegel writes in his book, That Old Serpent the Devil, on this event that the serpent comes to Jesus and says, “It is written.” This was the glittering weapon; the master stroke of the Tempter. Doubts were suggested, “If thou be the Son of God”.
It was hinted that the Savior might employ his supernatural powers to supply personal physical needs, “Command these stones be made into bread.” The kingdoms of the earth were offered to Jesus if He would worship Satan, “All these will I give thee.”
An easy way to popularity was pointed out--it was suggested that He cast Himself from the pinnacle of the Temple. No harm would come to Him, for God had promised to send His angels to care for Him. These are the ways we see in our lives that the serpent will use the Word of God to trap us in his web. How many times have we been deceived by men or books that use the Word of God, just as satan did to Jesus.
Evidence of this is found in our modern day churches. “It is written.” If the Word of God supports it, if the Bible sanctions it, why it must be good? How the devil loves to come to us with the Bible in his hand. It casts about a holy air. The devil can get nowhere with filth to a child of God, so he must use the Word of God.
Jesus was in that desert for 40 days and nights. For us to believe that the serpent just tempted Him on just three different occasions would be shallow. We are tempted every day and probably every moment. If Jesus was to conquer the serpent, He had to be put on the same playing field as us. You can bet that the serpent threw everything imaginable at Jesus to get Him to sin, from a guilt complex to a sexual encounter. Is there a day that goes by that we are not tempted? I cannot imagine going 40 days without food as Jesus did and still through His weakest moment still cut into the head of the serpent.
Did you notice that I said I couldn’t imagine doing that? That is just proof that I have not completed the course of putting on the full armor of God or the full and complete mind of Christ. Could it be that these three attempts by the serpent were only recorded for a reason?
Let us look at Matthew, Chapter 4 and in place of Christ we will use the word man. Where there is good there is evil. Jesus was good. Let us look at the response evil would give. Taken from the word of the Prince of Darkness:
Matthew 4:1-11 (with man substituted for Jesus the Christ):
1) “Then was the man was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2) And when the man had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3) And when the tempter came to the man, he said, If thou be the Body command that these stones be made bread.
4) The man answered and said, I am hungry and the man took the stones and built huge edifices (churches) with the thought that If you build they will come and come they did and the huge edifices made bread or money and the man was filled and was hungry no more.
5) Then the devil taketh the man up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Body, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7) The man listened and threw themselves down from the temple and away from the Word of God thinking that no matter what they preached sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these, God would have His angels bear them up.
8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10) Then saith the man unto him, we will worship thee for all the kingdoms of the world for what else do we need. The peoples of the kingdoms of the world worship us and revere us for you have put us on a pedestal and we can teach them to forgive us and turn the other cheek as we sodomize them and their children.
11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, was satisfied.
Is it possible to put on a complete mind of Christ? Only if God allows it. Satan has an armory of tests that he throws at us for us to serve him and it is not possible for us to see through them and overcome them. Our wisdom and strength is no match to the serpent’s, for he is too clever for us. Only Jesus the Christ was able to overcome him, and even He was bruised.
Parents of children from a certain school in America were concerned on the behavior of their children when home from school. An investigation was made, and they found out that an old man was selling chocolate to the children that had small doses of morphine in it. The drug dealers who supplied the old man with the chocolates to sell were figuring on cashing in later on the children as they got older and more addicted. The serpent is the same way as these drug dealers. He will float an ocean of sweets at you to convey a pint of hell.
So we ask, 'why does God continue to allow this evil one to continue in his destruction?' Well, the answer is found in Matthew 13 v 24-31. It is the parable of the tares and wheat. It is a parable where the tares choke out the wheat. When it comes harvest time, the tares are bundled up and cast in the fire and the wheat is gathered in the barn. The wheat that is gathered in the barn is the wheat that did not get choked out by the tares and withstood the grueling tests of the serpent and his seed. This wheat that made it to the barn put on the likeness of Christ as the serpent was hammering them into shape by his afflictions.
So, all the pain and suffering we endure is by the serpent, and when we have had enough of the pain and suffering, then we call on Christ. He is our only hope and without hope we are hopeless. In Corinthians, Paul advised the Corinthians to turn a lad over to satan for the destruction of the flesh; for that is the only way that the lad can realize that there is a Christ or life.
In John Wesley’s book, “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection”, he says that a man may be filled with pure love and still be liable to mistakes. Nor can he be freed from making mistakes until the mortal puts on the immortality. Making mistakes is the consequence of being flesh and blood. We cannot avoid sometimes of thinking wrong.
The last time Bill Finck was here he stated the above in much the same way. God’s children feel remorse when they sin. All the others feel no regret. I do not understand why the Wesley’s and the Calvin’s and all others who broke away from one denomination and started another did not know who they were. Why did they think they were the Gentiles? Why did they not look up the word Gentile and reason it out? Did they even wonder why they were giving much of their life to a god that did not have a covenant (in their minds) with them but with others?
This is a clear sign that the satanic self was working in them. They had to know that the Holy Spirit was working in them. Maybe it is because God gives us only what we can handle.
Isn't it amazing how every year our people can make updates and improvements (so we think) to cars, houses, commercial buildings, laws, roads, ways to improve ailments and such, and yet our people do not improve on our way of honoring Yahweh, Yehoshua, or the Holy Spirit. Instead our people are sinking more and more into the pit of destruction.
Satan divides; Christ unites. Uniting with Christ in your thoughts is also dividing from the serpent. Those who are double-minded are unstable in all their ways.
A booklet that I have, written by Reverend Roland Brown, states “Man does not develop his own God--consciousness.” He simply gets out of God’s way and receives Christ without effort or reserve. Man cannot analyze his way to God. He just yields to him, then practices His presence. Man can never find union between God and his natural self. Once yielded, God transforms the natural man into the spiritual man.
And now you know another portion of the story. These two messages have allowed me to see that we are in our own wilderness as our ancestors were.
All the ailments, and suffering that we experience, all the burdens of life that we go through, let us not complain. Our ancestors complained and it did not fare well with them. Complaining comes from the serpent self.
No matter how great your pains and trials are, DO NOT COMPLAIN! Put on the mind of Christ, look to the cross.
By not complaining we are cutting the head of the serpent. Asking for prayers and help is not complaining about if one of us is suffering, we all suffer. If one of us is under a trial or test by God, we all are being tested.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we call on you to lighten our burdens, our afflictions our pain and suffering. Remind us constantly to remember ourselves to You. Give us the faith that we need to overcome the serpent self and restore us to your Kingdom. We ask you this in the name of Your blessed Son, Jesus the Christ. Amen.