As I have reflected over these weeks on the necessity and urgency of taking our thoughts captive to God's Word, God's promises, God's character, and God's testimony (see last two posts), I have been struck with the underlying, critical foundation for this, which is accurately KNOWING God's Word, His promises, His character, and His testimony. It doesn't do us any good (in fact it may hurt us more) to take our thoughts and feelings captive to a misconception about God. That is one of the reasons I so value looking at the life of Christ in the Gospels because He is the image of the Father—the representation of the Father's nature. He is a wonderful focal point for people who have trouble relating to a "good" Father. He is the perfect representation of the Father's love, His goodness, His compassion, and His embracing of people who turn to Him no matter where they have been or what they have done. He shows the heart of the Father in all that He is, says, and does.
God tells us to study and meditate on His Word, and diligently doing that is the only way to determine the full (and accurate) picture of our Father's character and heart (I say "full" knowing that we won't know His "full" picture, but in the context of knowing all that we can). Just like we make a major mistake to take God's promises out of context and apart from the precepts and conditions attached to them, we make a major mistake to ignore parts of God's character. It is only in a full picture of God that we start to understand His holiness, His awesome majesty and power, His jealous nature, His hatred of sin, and His love that sent His Son to die to fulfill the covenant-breaking curse of death we should have fulfilled. As we understand His different names we start to understand different aspects of His character. As we see Jesus we see Him. As we study His Word we see His heart expressed.
The more accurately we can know God, the more accurately we can take our thoughts and feelings captive to Him. If we take them captive to a false idea about Him we have set ourselves up to follow a lie and take a fall which can actually lead us to bitterness or anger toward God because we feel like He "didn't come through" or "didn't do His part" when, in fact, He never gave us a true reason to believe He should or would. Another danger of not accurately knowing God and His Word and His character is that we tend to blame on God things the devil did, and accept things thinking they are from God that are in fact from the devil. Just as I am blessed and honored the more I learn about Mary Ann and her heart, or my girls and their hearts, I am most blessed and honored when I learn more about God's heart. Isn't He awesome!