Natural Thinking in Today's World
by Charles R. Swindoll
Today, let's focus in on a single passage of Scripture and digest it carefully. One of the most helpful passages to help us train our minds is 2 Corinthians 10:1–7. Take a few moments to read and meditate on these seven verses. Try reading them out loud.
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. (2 Corinthians 10:1–7)
The Corinthian Christians were an ornery lot! Although born again, they often operated in the realm of carnality because they had a secular mentality. To borrow from yesterday's reading on Romans 12, they were "in the mold" of the world system . . . their minds were "unrenewed." At times you would have sworn they weren't even in the family of God. For example, they fought with one another, they criticized Paul, they were competitive in the church, and they winked at gross immorality in their midst. Other than that, they were just fine.
In this section of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he points out several of the ways they revealed natural thinking. I find five characteristics:
1. They were prejudiced instead of objective (10:2).
2. They focused on the visible rather than the invisible (10:3).
3. They relied on human strength, not divine power (10:4).
4. They listened to men instead of God (10:5).
5. They perceived things superficially rather than deeply (10:7).
When our carnality is in gear, Paul's comments aptly describe our mind-set: surface judgment, shallow thinking, lack of depth, closed, independent, overly impressed with humanity, and spiritually out of focus.
When we get "squeezed into the mold" the world does a number on us, doesn't it?
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.