These verses point to the strenuous nature of Christian discipleship. Paul writes that he takes every thought captive, knowing that “every act of disobedience” to Christ will be punished. So much Christian activity today has never been disciplined in the way Paul describes; it has simply sprung into being on impulse. In our Lord’s life, every project was disciplined according to the will of his Father. There was not a single impulsive movement of the Son’s own will apart from his Father’s: “Whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).

Think how different we are from the example set by Jesus. We start projects because we’ve had a vivid religious experience and felt the thrill of inspiration, not because we’re living in obedience to God’s will. We’d rather take impulsive action than be imprisoned and disciplined to obey Christ, because we overvalue practical work. Meanwhile, disciples who aren’t caught up in busywork and who do bring every project into captivity for the Lord are criticized and told they’re not sincere about God or souls.

True sincerity is found in obeying God, not in obeying the inclination to serve him; obeying an inclination is born of an undisciplined human nature. It’s inconceivable yet true that many Christians are motivated to work for God by their own human nature, a nature which has never been spiritualized by determined discipline.

We are prone to forgetting that, as Christians, we must be committed to Jesus Christ not only for salvation but for his point of view. We must commit ourselves to Jesus Christ’s view of God, of the world, of sin, and of the devil. When we do, we will understand that we have a responsibility to renew our minds, so that they may be transformed and brought into complete captivity for him.

Wisdom from Oswald

“I have chosen you” (John 15:16). Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God, but that He has got you.  My Utmost for His Highest, October 25, 837 R