We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedience to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Many people think the Christian life is all about doing something; living a moral life, or feeding the poor, or working for “social justice.” Paul, however, tells us that the Christian life is about taking every thought captive; in other words, to control what you think. Why does the way you think exert such importance on your Christian life?
In the world of firearms training, there is a saying: “You react as you train.” In other words, if you consistently shoot slowly at a paper target in your training, then you’re going to be shooting slow at a paper target when your life is in danger. There have been cases where people, after defending their lives, have been found with their empty cartridge cases neatly stowed in their pockets. They reloaded, in the middle of their life being threatened, and placed the empty cases in their pocket. What a waste of valuable seconds.
In living your life, its the same way. You react as you train. If you train your mind to be angry, by thinking angry thoughts, you are going to react in an angry way. If you train your mind to be selfish, by thinking selfish thoughts, your first reaction, in any situation, is going to be a selfish reaction.
Doing things is often a good way to teach yourself to think correctly. In self defense, you intentionally go out and repeat certain actions time and time again so you learn to react in certain ways. The Rabbi’s say it’s better to give a little every week than to give a lot once a year, for it teaches you to have a giving soul. But you’ll notice there are two important elements in this process.
The first is the intentional nature of the training. You don’t go to the range and shoot “randomly,” you have a plan for growth, and you intentionally undertake it by designing your practice.
The second is the knowledge required for this growth. If you don’t understand the dynamics of self defense situations, then you can never know if you’re training the right way.
All of this applies to the Christian life. You must start by knowing what it is you’re supposed to to. You need to study God, and study doctrine. Then you need to apply it, intentionally, and repeatedly, in your own life, to build up a habit of applying it. To begin the process of becoming spiritually mature, you must study, and place Godly thoughts in your mind, rather than worldly ones.
In other words, turn off that television, and turn to the Scriptures. Don’t focus on making time in the Scriptures emotional, or experiential; focusing on learning all you can about God, God’s promises, and the way in which God has kept His promises in the past. Then you’re ready for the next stage, the faith rest drill. To learn to rest in God’s promises through the drills of life —that is the goal. God designs the drills to teach us faith; the question is, will we have the doctrinal understanding to control our reactions, time and time again, and learn the faith He’s trying to teach?