For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7.
We have used the last few posts to discuss the role of the word of God in shaping our thinking. The Lord admonishes us to be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ephesians 4:23). We are told to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). It is the word of God that God uses to renew and refresh our minds. We also saw how that wicked men infiltrate the house of God by transforming themselves outwardly but not and inwardly, (2nd Corinthians 11:12-15).
How then can a person be recovered who has misinterpreted the word of God or has in some other way is overthrown by their own thinking? We will see that it takes grace, patience and a servant of God resolved to see that person recovered. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will, 2nd Timothy 2:24-26.
You will note that person being described opposes himself. He is his own worst enemy. He clings to an idea that he thinks is liberating or possibly noble in its intellectual glory, but in reality his idea is a conceit. Be not wise in your own conceits, Romans 12:16. A conceit in a King James Bible is a false idea or warped philosophy. If we were to isolate just King James Bible believers we would find no shortage of men and women wise in their own conceits.
Often among the King James Bible believers we find some of the most insufferable of those wise in their own conceits. The truth of the King James Bible is so profound and the arrogance or naïveté of those who don't hold the position is so grievous, that our conceited brother often feels an unjust superiority. He often projects that same superiority into every other conclusion that he has ever made in life.
I know men whose living is significantly augmented by the government dole in one form or another and they live hand to mouth. Nevertheless, they are buoyed by the few truths that they do grasp and confound themselves into believing that everything else they think is superior. Some of them haunt churches and flit from church to church never finding one good enough for themselves. Others are loners who will never sit in one place long enough to ever be corrected.
What can be done for such a person? As the verse says, don't strive. The vast majority of internet babble about the bible issue is composed of the striving of men. Men and women lock in mortal combat and never really listen to each other. They just keep slinging one liners back and forth and never really expect their adversary to repent. God has a better way.
Next to my pulpit at the Black Creek Baptist church is a pillar. I once asked a young man to stand with his back to that pillar and to hold one end of a rope. I then wound the rope around him fastening him quite tightly to the pillar. I then asked him to hold onto the other end of the rope. Once I had him securely fastened, I asked him if he could get loose while still holding the rope. He couldn't. I then gave him permission to let go of the rope. In a short while he had shrugged off his bindings and was quite free.
This is a picture of a man taken captive by the devil. The devil searches out his thinking and finds his false idea. (There is no verse in the bible that says that the devil cannot read your mind. The bible says that only God knows the thoughts of the heart. The thoughts of the heart and mind are distinctly different. Science is actually crafting machines that can read images in men's minds.) The devil then uses that same idea to entrap that person.
Jesus Christ once said, for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me, John 14:30. The devil searches the person of Jesus Christ and can find no handhold with which to ensnare him. It is not so with us. If I was asked for any one reason why I listen to the preaching of men other than myself, it would be so that God might grant me repentance in one of those places wherein I am opposing my own self. The devil finds too much in me. Alongside of the reading of the word of God, I am privileged to sit under some of the finest preaching being done in America today.
If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, 2nd Timothy 2:25. Maybe God will, and maybe he won't. He's God. If you have wound yourself tightly to some post or pillar, and you are the one holding ever so dearly to some concept or another, don't blame God if you are trapped. You are opposing your own self. When you see a term such as "if God peradventure", think about grace, unmerited favor. It is something that God does because he is God, and because he is good. He is under no obligation.
You can be sure that if it repentance whereby God delivers those taken captive by the devil, that it is bad thinking whereby the devil captured them. The job of the servant of God is to longsuffer the fool. With great patience and no striving, preach to that person and use gentleness. That doesn't mean some milksop preaching style afraid of offending anyone listening. That means that after you have told them the truth, (Harry Truman once said that when he told congress the truth they thought it was hell.) confirm your love to that person in any and every way that you can. In this scenario, the servant of God is a tool in the arsenal of God for delivering captives.
Once they have been granted repentance, they can deliver themselves out of the snare of the devil. The longer they have been ensnared, the longer it will take to deliver themselves out of all of the foolish trappings of life with which they have surrounded themselves.
If you find yourself out of sorts and unable to find the peace and comfort that you once found in life, there is a good chance that you are captive. If you are captive, it was done through your thinking. God's plan to deliver you is to place you under a servant of God. Will you do it?