Purity of Mind: Taking Thoughts Captive

(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)

By Kyle Jane Heskett

“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. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”

– 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NIV)

A few years ago I realized that I am a very negative person. I constantly struggle with thoughts that are not from God, and I didn’t realize how damaging that was until recently. “I need a boyfriend to be happy.” Everyone is against me.” “I have to have things my way.” Thoughts like these kept me from living a joyful and abundant life. They weighed me down.

You may be struggling with the same thing I did. It doesn’t matter how long you or I have been believers; we have to keep a constant watch over our thoughts because one negative thought has the potential to grow and turn us into very negative people.

Paul addresses this exact issue in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Our heavenly father knows we struggle and the Holy Spirit, working through Paul, offers a solution to our disobedient thoughts. There are a few things I noticed while reading these verses that I want to share with you. Together as women of the Lord, let’s encourage each other to think like Christ.

Understand Your Battle

2 Corinthians 10:3 points out that our battle is spiritual. Though we have physical bodies, there is a war going on to steal our joy. Our enemy is not our body’s physical flaws or the girl who gossiped about us.   Our enemy is the Devil, and he wants to keep us from becoming joyful people. He doesn’t want us to succeed, because the more he can keep us down the less of a threat we are to him! We want to be threats to the Devil! We want to be joyful and help share the love of Christ to others!

Fight Against Your Sin

There is a time to be brutal and show no mercy, and that is with your sin. The second part of verse four says that the weapons we fight with have the ability to “demolish strongholds.” The weapons God gives us to face our spiritual battles are strong, mighty, and capable of destroying sin. Verse five encourages us to take up these brutal arms against what is not of Christ. Next time you have a thought that is not biblical, take it captive and think of what is biblical. When I’m faced with a negative thought, such as “I need to be prettier,” I replace it with a true thought and think, “That is not true. The truth is that I am beautiful because Christ says I am.” Positive reinforcement, along with going to God’s word, are just some of the ways to fight against negative thoughts. A great source for learning how to take thoughts captive and understanding the truth is the book “Be Ye Transformed” by Nancy Missler. I would encourage you to order a copy today!      

Be Ready

Prepare yourself to face future temptations throughout the day and be ready to punish them, like verse six tells us. We can nip negative thinking in the bud by being prepared for it. If negative thoughts keep coming, press on! Ephesians 6:10-18 is a great example on how to prepare ourselves by putting on the full armor of God. We are in a war, so suit up!

Experience Freedom

There is true freedom that comes with taking thoughts captive and realizing that they don’t have power over you. There is freedom in giving up your worries to God and enjoying the blessings he has for you that day! And there is freedom in knowing that you don’t have to live by the world’s standards of what is true and important, you live by God’s!

Your negative thoughts don’t define you. God wants you to experience freedom in him today. Don’t lose heart if it takes you a while to share in this freedom. Even in the midst of struggle you can experience God’s joy because as Psalm 30:5 tells us, “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (NIV). Just take one day at a time and rely on our victorious God.