Your thought life is where the rubber meets the road. All of life. Your goals, plans, dreams, wishes, desires — all of it is up in your head.
That’s just the way it goes.
And, let me tell you… the Bible has a LOT to say about the mind, temptation, our thoughts, and so on! Today, though, I’m focusing on one small passage of Scripture that is packed with power. This has confronted, convicted, and challenged me — leaving me desiring correction and change.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ~
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Me. Myself. I. Taking EVERY thought I have and bringing it under the Lordship, Authority, and correction of Jesus Christ.
Depending on what version you read, it will either say “we take captive every thought” or we “we bring every thought into captivity.”
I love the idea of both. So, let’s focus on those two words right here. Take and Bring.
A little grammar always comes in handy. So, here’s the part where I indulge my inner English buff and tell you that these two words are verbs. And, no – they are not “linking” or “being” verbs – they are “ACTION” verbs. Do you follow me so far?
Take and Bring — those are two things that I can do. They are actions. They don’t happen by themselves. Someone has to DO them.
According to the dictionary…
Take. (1) Lay hold of (something) with one’s hands; reach for and hold. (2) Remove (someone or something) from a particular place.
Bring. (1) Cause (someone or something) to come to a place. (2) Make (someone or something) move in a particular direction or way.
This Scripture is saying that I must TAKE my thoughts. Me. Myself. I. I must actually TAKE my thoughts. I must lay hold of them. I must take ownership of them.
And then I must BRING them. Me. Myself. I. I must actually BRING my thoughts. Cause my thoughts. Move my thoughts. To obey Christ. To dwell on Christlike ideas, etc.
Me. I have to do this. No one else can do it for me.
I have to take ownership of my thought life.
I strongly feel as if, in my own life and Spiritual walk with Christ, this is an area of immaturity. And, somehow, I don’t feel as if I am alone in this battle.
Rick Thomas puts it this way:
Plan A for the devil is to keep all people from believing in Christ.
Plan B for the devil is to keep all Christians from maturing in Christ.
If the devil can’t get me to NOT be a Christian, he’s going to try to get me to be a shallow one.
And, I am NOT ok with that! I refuse to be a mediocre, mundane, and moderate Christian.
This – the area of my thoughts – is a place where God is putting his finger on & saying, “I’ve commanded you to be better. I’ve given you my Spirit. I have promised ‘everything you need for life and godliness’ (2 Peter 1:3).”
So, what exactly does it look like to bring my thoughts and move them under the authority of Jesus Christ? What exactly does it look like to captivate my thoughts?
That’s what we are going to delve into now.
First of all. . .
We must be aware that this – taking our thoughts captive – is a BATTLE. It is a war. The Bible is clear that we fight not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil (paraphrased from Ephesians 6:12). You need to accept the fact that, as a child of God, you are in a war. Taking EVERY single thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ is a huge undertaking. The devil wants your soul, and the easiest place for him to enter is in the mind. The devil won’t make this easy.
Secondly. . .
You must suit up. You must put on your armor: Salvation, the Spirit, Truth, Faith, the Gospel, Righteousness, and Peace. You can’t leave off any part. This is a battle that you can’t fight on your own. Take it seriously. Get your priorities straight. Jesus first. Everything else behind Him. Prepare yourself. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Next. . .
Take anything in your life that diverts your thoughts towards things that are not Christlike, deal with it, and get rid of its hold on you. This might look like confessing sin. This might look like getting an accountability partner. This might look like creating a healthy and needed balance in your life, realizing that just because something is good doesn’t mean it is best. This might look like cutting out some Netflix shows that you’d be better off without. This might look like waging a war on materialism in your life and budgeting your money more carefully. This might look like fighting worry and anxiety, instead of succumbing to it. This might look like ending a relationship. This might look like getting rid of some friends whose influence are toxic to your relationship with God.
It will look different for each one of us. We know ourselves and our struggles and our areas of temptation. We KNOW what we need to REMOVE from our lives to enable us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
If you are unsure of what you need to do, I guarantee if you pray and simply say, “God, I’m serious about this. About taking my thoughts captive to obey you. About bringing my thought life under your authority. What do I need to cut out and remove from my life in order to purify my relationship with you?” If you pray something like that with sincerity of heart, God is going to use His Spirit to speak to you, to show you what eliminations you need to undertake.
Lastly. . .
In order to take control of your thought life, you must implement good habits. Dig deeper in the Word of God. Don’t read because you have to; read because you need to. We can NOT live without God’s truth, people. We have to be people of the Word if we are going to be over-comers! Establish friendships with people who not only encourage your walk with Christ, but they speak truth into it, even if it hurts and you don’t want to hear it. Think and focus on what’s pure, what’s true, what’s right, what’s lovely, what’s admirable, what’s excellent, and what’s worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Create new habits that are good for you physically, mentally, and emotionally – nature walks/hikes, photography, writing, reading, coloring, relaxing. Self-care is vital. And, don’t forget that impure, ungodly, or inferior thoughts will try to creep in – they’ll try, trust me. And when they do, make a CHOICE right then and there – before they implant and take over – to throw them out and set your mind on things ABOVE (Colossians 3:2). Be on guard. The devil is sneaky.
Remember. . .
EVERY thought captive to obey Jesus. Not just part of our thoughts or a few of them. This is an “all or nothing” thing. And, yes. It seems like a ginormous task. It is. However, God wouldn’t tell us to do something that wasn’t possible. If God says, “Take your thoughts captive,” it means He is going to give us the grace to do it. If we just ask. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I don’t know about you, but I know that my heart is God’s – – – so I commit my thought life to being under His authority as well. It just makes perfect sense.
Pursuing Christ – Abandoning Self.