“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”
- Colossians 2:8 NLT
A young man wrote me recently asking for some advice. He said that he had given his life to Christ two years ago, and believed that he was saved, but he was having some serious doubts about his faith. He was attending college, and he was taking a philosophy course whose instructor was an atheist, and who professed that Christianity was utter nonsense. This teacher insisted that people only believed in God to help themselves cope with the trials of daily living, and to console themselves with the belief that they were going to heaven someday. He didn’t believe a word of the Bible, and he didn’t believe God was real. Thanks to this man’s worldly philosophy, his student was wavering in his faith.
I gave this young believer some advice straight from the Word of God. Scripture says: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) It also says: "Don't let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men's thoughts and ideas, instead of on what Christ has said." (Colossians 2:8 TLB) I told this young man that it was up to HIM to “guard” his heart, and to not allow others to “spoil” his faith. God is willing to protect us and our faith, but we must partner with Him in the process. When we are being influenced by ungodly people and their philosophies, it’s our responsibility as followers of Christ to remove ourselves from their influence. We must seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance in the matter, determining to do whatever we have to in order to please Him. The apostle Peter wrote: "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that Christians all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are." (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT) The devil can’t “devour” just anyone. He has to search for believers who are weak and struggling in their faith, and who are receptive and vulnerable to his lies and deceptions. Those of us who stand firm in our faith may have fleeting moments of doubt, but we will not let them take hold in ways that will open the door to destruction.
Peter also wrote: “Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17-18 NIV) Becoming mature in Christ, and getting to know Him better, is our best defense against ungodly people and philosophies. Every time we read the Bible, or listen to good preaching and teaching--taking godly principles to heart, and applying them to our lives—we have the potential to grow and mature in our faith. Then, as the apostle Paul says: "We will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." (Ephesians 4:14 NLT) Whenever I get the slightest inkling that I am wavering in my faith, the first thing I do is quote Scripture, either aloud or to myself, until my doubts evaporate. That’s because it’s the truth of God’s Word that renews our minds to think like God, instead of like the world. Paul wrote: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 NASB) Having a working knowledge of Scripture is a powerful defense against Satan and his attacks against our minds and hearts.
Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples: "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27 AMP) Notice that the Savior says that we should “stop allowing” ourselves to disturbed and unsettled. As followers of Christ, we have been endued with supernatural power to resist and refuse wrong thinking and behavior, and to walk in the divine peace that is our inheritance in Christ. Are you ready to take your stand against the ungodly philosophies of this world?
Prayer: Lord, thank You that You have equipped me with the Holy Spirit to resist thinking and acting like the world. Remind me often to cast down arguments, theories, and reasonings—and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God—and to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 AMP) I praise You for the victory and peace I will walk in as a result!
- J. M. Farro