Mental Barriers to God's Voice, Part 1

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)

When the world tries to squeeze us into its mold, God's message gets muffled. Our minds pick up on the strong secular signals so easily that we subconsciously tune Him out. It comes naturally.

In ancient days, a city, in order to prosper, needed a security system to protect it from enemy attack. Of primary importance was a wall which restrained enemy troops from invading and which also served as a major means of defense in battle. Guards needed to be on constant watch from their sentinel posts on the wall. There needed to be towers within the city high enough for those inside to see over the wall. And finally, at the time of attack, men of military savvy and battle knowledge were needed to give orders and to direct the troops in the heat of combat from within the protection of those towers.

Paul drew a series of analogies from that familiar scene of his day . . . but remember, he's not dealing with a city but rather with our minds. The passage in 2 Corinthians 10:1–7 sets forth a vivid description of the mental barriers that block out God's directives and His counsel. Look closely. Paul uses four terms that we need to understand. If you have a pencil handy, circle each in your Bible: fortresses . . . speculations . . . lofty thing . . . thought.

As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us (biblical information on servanthood, for example), He runs up against our "wall," our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. For some, it's prejudice. With others, it's limited thinking or a negative mentality. Whatever it is, it's a huge mental barrier that resists divine input just as firmly as a massive stone wall once resisted invading troops.

We all have our fortresses. And occasionally we get downright obnoxious as we operate under the control of our "walled fortress." Need a good example?

A vagrant was looking for a handout in a picturesque old English village. Hungry almost to the point of fainting, he stopped by a pub bearing the classic name, Inn of St. George and the Dragon.

"Please, ma'am, could you spare me a bite to eat?" he asked the lady who answered his knock at the kitchen door.

"A bite to eat?" she growled. "For a sorry, no-good bum—a foul-smelling beggar? No!" she snapped as she almost slammed the door on his hand.

Halfway down the lane the tramp stopped, turned around, and eyed the words, St. George and the Dragon. He went back and knocked again on the kitchen door.

"Now what do you want?" the woman gruffed.

"Well, ma'am, if St. George is in, may I speak with him this time?"

Ouch.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from Improving Your Serve by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com

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