Reading the Word daily and studying different topics during the month, I’m excited and can hardly wait to get here and share the treasures I discover with you. Then I realize that you probably already know them. But I’m comforted by Peter: “I will remind you of these things, even though you know them, and are established in the present truth” (2Peter 1:12-15)!
Let’s dig together into a very familiar verse – 2 Corinthians 10:5b, where Paul writes “…and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (KJV). What does this really mean? Why is it important?
Let’s start with the word captivity. It means to subjugate one’s thoughts to the obedience of Christ. Interesting word, subjugate. I’d never heard the word, so I had to know exactly what it means. It means to bring under the yoke; to bring under control or subjection; to cause to become subservient; to conquer.
We’re to bring every thought under the yoke, or control, of Christ’s obedience. Why is that so important? As we think in our heart, so are we (Proverbs 23:7). From within, out of the heart, come our thoughts – for good or evil (Mark 7:20-23). Bringing our thoughts under the yoke and into the subjection of Christ’s obedience is vital for victorious Christian living.
So what is the measure, or standard, of Christ’s obedience? That standard is laid out for us in another very familiar portion of Scripture found in Philippians 2:5-8: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The measure and standard of Christ’s obedience is obedience unto death. Bringing every thought under the yoke of Christ’s obedience – a to-the-death-obedience.
Christ is our Example. We’re to follow in His steps (1Peter 2:21). And He learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
The word learned here means He acquired the habit of obedience; He became accustomed to obedience through the things He suffered. In Matthew 26:39&42 we see this lived out…three times Jesus prayed to His Father, “Thy will, NOT Mine, be done.”
Isaiah 53 tells us of His sufferings: He was despised, rejected, a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; wounded for the transgressions of others and bruised for iniquities not His own. He received stripes for our healing. He was oppressed, afflicted, stricken, and numbered with transgressors. Sinless, He bore the sins of the world! He poured out His soul unto death. Psalm 22 tells us He was mocked and scorned. His bones were out of joint; He was sapped of strength and desperately thirsty. He was stripped of clothing, and His hands and feet were pierced. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
When He tells us: You must forsake all you have to follow Me (Luke 14:33), and if any come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24), HE is our example for obedience!
There’s a plaque in the Garden of Gethsemane with these words: “‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’ Thou, O Jesus, in the darkness of night and grief, didst utter these words of surrender and trust to God the Father. In gratitude and love I will, in my hours of fear and desolation, say after Thee, ‘My Father, I cannot understand what Thou are about but in Thee do I put my trust.’”
Bringing every thought under the yoke of Christ’s standard of obedience.
The three Hebrews understood this yoke of a to-the-death obedience: If God spare us, fine. If He doesn’t, fine. We will not break His law by bowing to your idol, King Nebuchadnezzar (from Daniel 3:17&18). They were under the yoke of Christ’s obedience. Read the “faith chapter” of Hebrews 11 for others who understood and lived and died under this measure of obedience.
And what does Jesus Himself say concerning His yoke? “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). “Bring your thoughts under the yoke of My obedience, and you’ll find that My yoke is easy; My burden is light!”
How is being under a to-the-death yoke of obedience EASY? Look at this!
This word yoke in Matthew 11:29&30 serves to couple two things together; it signifies that a pair are yoked together! Submission to the authority of Christ’s yoke is not simply to a yoke imparted by Him, but entered into and shared with Him! How’s that for a yoke made easy and a burden made light???!!!
Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. He is our Example as we bring every thought under the to-the-death obedience He lived out to His Father. And comfort of all comforts – He is in-yoke with us! He promised never to leave us or forsake us all the way till the end of time (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20b).
…bringing into captivity every thought under the yoke of the obedience of Christ. Letting the mind of Christ be in us (1 Corinthians 2:16b). Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Yoke-partners with Christ.
1 Timothy 1:17