It happened again, as it should.
We read and live and think through God’s words and he speaks to us. Sometimes immediately, but sometimes (sometimes often) we have those texts that remain just beyond our reach, remains an enigma.
Enigma E*nig”ma, n.; pl. Enigmas. [L. aenigma, Gr. ?, fr. ? to speak darkly, fr. ? tale, fable.]
1. A dark, obscure, or inexplicable saying; a riddle; a statement, the hidden meaning of which is to be discovered or guessed.
2. An action, mode of action, or thing, which cannot be satisfactorily explained; a puzzle; as, his conduct is an enigma.
[dictionary.net – Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)]
A week ago Saturday, waiting to load another rail car with big, white rocks used to combat the washouts from our recent flooding, reading the words of God, my scheduled reading brought me to 2 Corinthians 10 and my enigma verse.
(2 Corinthians 10:6 ESV) being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Here is what I wrote that afternoon.
Do I finally understand this verse after so many years? Did it finally click?
“when your obedience is complete”
Until we are obedient to “the rules of war” as described here, then we are not ready to move against disobedience.
Until we bow before God’s process of taking our own thoughts captive to obey Christ, until we are willing to bring ourselves under the scrutiny of Jesus, until we are ready to submit our thoughts and thought processes before God. . .
Until we are ready to honor God in this way, we are not ready to do battle in Jesus’ name. We will not be moving in divine power but merely fighting as men fight.
Some years ago the earlier part of the text had clicked.
(2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
I’ve written about this in my book how without exception as I remember that this text had always been taught as “take every bad thought captive to obey Christ.”
The text was always used as a “how to fight temptation” verse, missing the main point of the verse. After reading this verse for years the obvious finally hit me – the text does actually say “every thought” not every bad thought.
We are not to do the editing, determining before hand what needs examined by Christ and what does not. Too much room for fallen human error.
This is not a verse on fighting temptation but a verse concerning spiritual warfare and properly representing the truth of Jesus Christ. And we do not properly represent Christ until we are willing to “run” our entire belief system and theology before him for approval. What we believe must come in obedience before Christ.
So all of that was a tremendous insight for me some years ago.
But then I would come to verse six and … ??? enigma time.
The temptation is a “make it fit” approach. Edit, trim, squeeze, push, rationalize until we get it into the box. You know the “box” of what we believe, our theology, the grid through which everything else must be seen through, even God’s words if necessary.
Whoops! That ain’t supposed to happen is it?
I mean, trimming and squeezing what God says to fit what we believe. Say it ain’t so, Sam!
But that is what we do, when we should just be waiting on God.
So back to last Saturday. I was just reading and it’s like the Holy Spirit said, “Now is the time” and bloop this insight
dropped into my lap.
The truth of the text was there all along, and I don’t see now why it wasn’t more clear before.
I could see before that so many of our efforts in spiritual warfare were self-defeating. “We had met the enemy and they is us” type of deal. We had the true words but were fighting like humans, not trusting God, not waiting on him, not depending on him for things beyond us.
And that is exactly what my enigma verse is saying.
(2 Corinthians 10:5-6 ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (6) being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
We are not ready to address disobedience until we ourselves obey. Duh, Amos!
Until our fighting methods change, we still fight like what we are – mere humans. And our fighting methods don’t change until and unless we submit them before Jesus Christ for approval.
We take all our thoughts, our entire belief systems, all our theology, all our intellectual wrangling and bring it in submission before Christ for obedience.
And until we obey, we are not ready to deal with disobedience.