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Learning how to take thoughts captive is quite possibly the most life-changing skill one can learn. In this article, you will learn seven ways to take thoughts captive.
Take Thoughts Captive: Meaning
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 10:4-5
Take a closer look at verse 4. I’m going to summarize it like this: as Christians, we have powerful tools that can demolish strongholds. Did you know that a stronghold is a “firmly held belief”. What happens if our firmly held beliefs are lies we are believing? When we believe lies – we will experience unnecessary pain in our lives. Additionally, we will miss out on a greater experience of joy and peace.
Our enemy is called the “father of lies”. He does everything in his power to mislead Christians into believing they are insignificant, worthless, not enough or disappointing. None of which aligns with the truth of Scripture.
The truth of Scripture is our best divine weapon when we take thoughts captive.
It’s important to remember that in everything God calls us to do (i.e. take thoughts captive), He will help us to do His will through the power of His Holy Spirit. Additionally, we are invited to participate in the process. Let’s dive into seven ways to take thoughts captive!
Seven Ways to Take Thoughts Captive
1. Expose the Lies
Throughout our lives, we are constantly trying to make sense of our relationships and circumstances. Our brains are made to fill in gaps of missing information. Consequently, we make many assumptions. Unfortunately, this is where the lies can sometimes make their way into our hearts.
It is critical to constantly be vigilant to evaluate what we are believing about ourselves, the world around us, and even God. Lies have no power until they are believed. Read that again. Once a lie takes root, our thoughts, emotions, and actions will follow suit.
How do we expose the lies? We set it next to the Truth. When our beliefs don’t align with the truth of Scripture we must take thoughts captive! In other words, trade the lies for the Truth!
2.Guard Your Heart and Mind
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
I recently did a word study on the phrase “will guard your hearts and minds” from Philippians 4:6-7. Our heart is the control center of everything. As a result, passions, emotions, actions, desires, will, and thoughts all flow from the heart. Imagine the power lies have in our lives if it makes their way into our heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
The mind is how we perceive the world and circumstances around us. Perception is based on our five senses. Ironically, Scripture tells us not to lean on our own understanding. Rather, trust in the Lord. As we trust in the Lord, the peace of God guards our hearts and minds.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
All of this means we can be proactive to take thoughts captive while depending on God to powerfully work in and through us. How do you guard your mind? How do social media, news, television, and music allow lies into your heart and mind?
3. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is one of my favorite ways to take thoughts captive. Research shows it is impossible to think negative thoughts at the same time we are practicing gratitude. Additionally, research points to the practice of gratitude resulting in increased happiness. This only reveals what God’s Word has always said, and everything flows from the heart. How will you begin to practice cultivating gratitude in your life?
…pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Philippians 4:6-7 specifically tells us how to access the peace of God, which guards our hearts and minds. We are instructed to pray with gratitude. Prayer is powerful! Share your heart with your Heavenly Father. Ask Him to help you take thoughts captive and thank Him for the work He is faithful to complete in and through you.
5. Renew Your Mind
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2a
God‘s Word is one of our divine weapons to take thoughts captive. We must carve out time to be renewed in our minds. This creates more clarity about who we are and who God is. Renewing your mind will better equip you to expose the lies that have made their way into your heart. I read a quote once, “The best time to plant a fruit tree is 20 years ago. However, the second best time is now”. The same principle applies to renewing your mind with the Word of God. It’s never too late to begin sharpening your Sword of the Spirit.
6. Fix Your Thoughts on Jesus
… fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. -Hebrews 3:1b
We always have a choice to steer our thoughts in a direction that is beneficial. Choose to fix your thoughts on Jesus, His Truth, and His character. Meditating on Christ rather than the things that are hard or not going well renews hope and draws peace. Consequently, it’s another way we can take thoughts captive.
Similar to fixing our eyes on Jesus, we can take thoughts captive through worship. Worship can be done in so many ways – obedience, praise, serving, praying, thanking, and so much more. When we worship, we are intentionally shifting the focus to thoughts that bless and encourage rather than thoughts that weigh us down.
Quick Recap: 7 Ways to Take Thoughts Captive
Always be vigilant to expose the lies that have made their way into your life and trade lies for Truth. Be proactive and depend on God to help you guard your heart and mind. Additional ways to take thoughts captive include steering toward an encouraging path through worship, fixing your eyes on Jesus, and practicing gratitude. Finally, carve out time to grow in your relationship with God through time in His word and prayer.
What strategies to take thoughts captive would you add? Leave it in the comments!
I recommend this course often. You will love it!