Practical Tips for Taking Thoughts Captive: A Reflection on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
9 December 2020
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
The angst in my guts grows in proportion to my focus on the things of this world.
It becomes very easy to allow thoughts to run away on me, but here’s the truth:
To accept negative, anxious, doubtful, or bitter thoughts as okay is to declare defeat in the good fight of faith. We must stand and fight in the battleground of our minds if we want to see victory in our circumstances.
And what are our weapons? Paul tells us our weapons are not of the world, but rather have divine power to demolish strongholds. But, still the question remains—what are they?
If we peek over at Ephesians, Paul tells us about the armor of God, and included is both our defensive and offensive gear. (Take a peek at Ephesians here, and read more about being properly prepared for the battle here.)
The key weapon in the fight? The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
The enemy is great at whispering untruths, believable lies. He knows what gets our goats, as the saying goes. He is a thief, and Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
Though he cannot hear our thoughts, he can certainly influence them, and he can tell from our outward reactions if they are working or not.
Our weapon-wielding is of paramount importance.
Just as a soldier spends time training to be effective in war, so too we need to be training to be effective in our own battle grounds.
It becomes obvious that we need to be in the Word, intentionally seeking to absorb it so it can be used effectively each and every time.
When we understand that we have received overwhelming victorythrough Jesus, we can see the importance of standing our ground in every battle. The war has already been won, but it’s our job to stand in the power of His might declaring the victory.
Practically speaking, this means recognizing the enemy’s tactics. Being sober-minded enough to see when we are being deceived, attacked, or robbed of the fullness and freedom found in Jesus.
Is your peace gone?
Is your joy waning?
Are you believing that your circumstances are hopeless?
Are you questioning God’s love or goodness?
Do you doubt He will provide for all your needs?
In these moments, stop. Deliberately pause.
Begin to pray. Knowing God’s Word and praying it over yourself and your circumstances is the sure-fire way to see victory the fastest.
Don’t yet know it to pray and declare it? There’s still power in pausing, praying, and seeking.
Pausing stops the negative freight train of thoughts leading to destructive emotions and reactions.
Praying centers your reliance on the One who promises to carry our burdens and who is our Rock amidst every storm.
Seeking confirms our dependence on Jesus rather than our own strength, and opens our minds to receive truth in place of the lies.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…is found in God’s Word.
The in-between moments, when an active battle is not waging, dig into the Word. Write it out. Meditate on it. The more you are in it, the more it will be quickly accessible in the heat of the fight.
This may sound silly. After all, our days are full. Our schedules are constantly begging for more tasks to be checked off. Our bank accounts are wailing at their lack of funds.
We are in the world, not of it.
We are called to a higher perspective.
We have a Victorious God on our side, and His love will never fail us.
It may appear as foolishness, tucking ourselves away from the noise of life to spend time in the Word and grow in our faith.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. -1 Corinthians 10:27 NIV
Taking thoughts captive is a daily battle, but it’s one we’ve been promised is easy. It just requires intentionality, and an adjusted focus.
Grace and Peace to you as you fight the good fight of faith.