CAPTURING THE THOUGHTS
UNTO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST
Because Paul lived in the spirit, he learned the lesson of how to deal with people’s thoughts. In 2 Corinthians there are three passages related to the matter of thoughts. In 3:14 Paul told us that the thoughts of the children of Israel were “hardened.” Then in 4:4 he said that the thoughts of the unbelievers have been “blinded” by the god of this age. Finally, in 10:5 Paul indicated that the thoughts need to be captured unto the obedience of Christ. The thoughts can be hardened by the self, blinded by the god of this age, or captured by the ones who have the ministry. They are captured by those who war, who fight the battle, not according to the flesh but with the weapons which are powerful before God (v. 4). When you have the ministry, when you are a person really living, walking, in the spirit, you are not fighting the battle according to the flesh, but you are equipped, qualified, to do a work to capture the thoughts of people, to bring all their thoughts into captivity unto the obedience of Christ.
You can never subdue people by arguing. The more you argue, the more you stir up the thoughts of people. Some people may come to you to challenge you to argue with them, but if you argue with them, you will only stir up their thoughts. However, if you are a person who has the ministry within, you will be qualified and equipped with the spiritual weapons that are powerful before God to cast down, or overthrow, the reasonings and to take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ.
WHAT THE CHURCH NEEDS TODAY—
THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
In 1 Corinthians there are the gifts, the knowledge, and the teachings. But in 2 Corinthians we cannot find these things. Neither can we find miracles or healings. Instead, we find a thorn in Paul’s flesh that the Lord refused to remove even after Paul entreated Him three times (12:7-9).
Paul asked the Lord to perform a miracle by taking away the thorn, but the Lord refused to do it. In this book we do not see miracles but sufferings. In 2 Corinthians there are no miracles, no healings, and no gifts, but sufferings to reduce the outer man that the ministry might be produced. The more we suffer and the more the outer man is reduced, the more we will have of the ministry. Then we will have something of the riches of Christ to minister to others. This is the need of the church today. The church is not in great need of miracles, gifts, teachings, or knowledge. Today the church needs the ministry of Christ. History has shown us that something may be built up by the gifts, but eventually what is built up will be torn down by the same gifts. This is a tragic story that has been repeated many times.
If we would be humbled by the grace of the Lord and learn how to live in the spirit, the sovereign Lord will assign each one of us a certain amount of suffering. The more we love the Lord Jesus, the more we will suffer something and the more we will be reduced. Eventually, a certain amount of ministry will be produced, and the church will be built up. This is what the church needs today.
(Autobiography of a Person in the Spirit, An, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)