July 18, 2019
One of the best gifts we can give ourselves today is to receive God’s gift of peace. Because whether we like it or not, the world constantly gives us freebies of cluttered and futile thoughts.
As we wake up each day, a barrage of notifications and messages floods us. And crazy as it might sound, the lack of these notifications does not give us peace either.
Every day our brains and hearts can easily get filled with many conflicting messages. But our mind is not our enemy, nor our thoughts and emotions. Our enemy is the devil who seeks to destroy our devotion to Christ by enticing us with a lifestyle without discipline and a cluttered thought life. Nonetheless, the good news is we don’t need to be overwhelmed today.
We can take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Although the original context of this verse referred to thwarting any false teachings being presented by Paul’s rivals against the true gospel, this can also be applied to faulty thought patterns that personally hinder us from receiving the truth. After all, any thought we have is either the truth or a lie.
“Whatever it takes” is the posture required to take captive. It sounds simple, but why is it hard to do? It’s because “to take captive” also means we have to face and confront the thought itself.
It’s a long, hard process indeed. But we need to fight back and recapture our minds! We need to be able to do it on our own and with a life-giving community.
Start with the simple habit of writing down your thoughts, drawing it out, mind-mapping it, or recording or making a video—whatever will help you slowly unpack your thoughts, mindsets, and emotions. Lay your thoughts bare before God and allow His grace to help you sort it through, no need to filter, no need to feel ashamed of where life has taken you. Navigate the landfills in your mind.
Process things with a trusted friend, leader, or a Christian counselor who’s willing to journey with you. Even as Christians, we are not meant to live and do life alone. Thankfully, we have a community of fellow soldiers who, by the grace and power of God, have also received victory in Christ.
How do we take captive of every thought, then? Here’s a simple filter that you can use:
Check the Bible and celebrate what God has spoken in your heart.
Resist it, dismiss it. Do not believe any lie, accusation, deception, or temptation.
Is it useful and beneficial? Is it just for me? Can it help others? Is it nonsensical? Is it destructive to me and others?
When we take every thought captive, we also examine and process our emotions properly. Every thought and memory have a distinct emotion attached to it. Sometimes the things that mess us up are not just our thoughts but our bottled up emotions.
As we allow ourselves to process our emotions and release them the right way, we are able to make sound actions and decisions based on God’s truth.
Moreover, we take every thought captive by fighting for our complete healing, both emotionally and spiritually. I can no longer count the number of times that I needed to receive correction, counseling, coaching, and emotional healing. I’m just thankful for God’s commitment and for the church’s commitment to walk with me in my journey toward complete healing.
I need healing; you need healing. Let’s not allow shame to stop us from receiving the wholeness that God has promised.
These days, obedience looks to me like fighting and clawing my way out of life situations, going deep in its belly and clinging on to the grace, strength, and power of God to get me out cleansed, whole, sanctified, and victorious.
The Bible unpacks how we, who are in Jesus Christ, can do this.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
We are to set our minds on things that are above, not on worldly things. When we keep training our minds to think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8), we will be able to recognize lies more quickly.
Our lives are hidden in Jesus Christ. That means our old mindsets and beliefs do not have a hold over us. Unless we live out our lives with the perspective that we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we will be tempted to respond to situations the way we did in the past.
Taking captive of every thought and making it obedient to Christ is a journey we take with God being in full control of every situation. It is a journey with Jesus empathizing with us and with the Holy Spirit walking with us every step of the way.
Be brave today and know that as you take that one bold step, you can encourage one person, who will also encourage another and another. Start that change today!