Taking my thoughts captive has been one of the greatest tools for fighting my anxiety. Our minds are so powerful. But this idea of taking our thoughts captive isn’t just for those of us with anxiety. Taking thoughts captive and renewing our minds should be a common, continuous practice for those of us in Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” We have weapons that have the divine power to destroy strongholds. This is good news for me! One of those weapons is to take our thoughts captive. Before we can even try to figure out how to do this, we must understand why we should.
We are constantly bombarded with worldly things. It’s almost impossible to get away from it entirely, no matter how diligent you may be with what goes before your eyes and in your ears. Matt Chandler describes it as “.. nagging, noisy combination of sound bites, bad advice, rumors, old wives tales, trivia, others’ opinions, devilish accusations, breaking news and all the unholy influences we allow to rattle around in our brains all day, from beer commercials and movie trailers, to temporary worries and a whole carousel of covetous desires.” I honestly don’t think we have any idea how much the things we hear and see shape our mind. It’s dangerous. Everything around us is fighting against what God’s Word says. Truth continues to be attacked, though often times it is so subtle we don’t notice. We might be aware of the vulgar commercial we just saw. But it’s the ideals and opinions we are forming about various parts of our life that come from an unholy and God-less mindset that seem to slip in unaware because they aren’t one of the seven deadly sins.
So, how can we combat this daily infiltration of truth robbers? God’s Word. ” … if God’s message is not deep inside you, where you can meditate on it, return to it, and frequently call it back to mind, you won’t be able to discern what’s really true from what may be really intriguing, really alluring, really convincing, but really false. And really defeating.” (Chandler) This is why God’s word must be our daily bread. It must be what we feast on. It must be our life’s work.
It’s a war. It’s a battle of what is going to occupy our minds. I posted this on Facebook yesterday: The Bible changes our worldview. Sometimes I read things that come across my Facebook feed from a professing believer that makes me scratch my head. Be careful, friends, of worldly sayings and ways of thinking. Test everything according to God’s Word. John Piper says, “Saturate your mind with the wide and deep truth and wisdom of Scripture so that you are equipped at every level to encounter with knowledge and to discern how the principles of Scripture guide you in assessing what you are seeing. Keep yourself in a community of believers where other minds also, besides your own, provide guidance and ballast so that you are not alone in this process of assessment.”
When are minds are filled with Scripture and false ideas come across, we can stop them. When our minds are filled with the truth in God’s Word and we begin to fear, we can remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness in Scripture. We can remind ourselves of the promises we’ve hidden away in our heart. When we’re faced with questions that we don’t have answers to we can hold those questions up in light of the solids truths from the Bible that we have built our foundation on. But we won’t know them if we don’t continually have a steady diet of Scripture. Read His word. Every day. Surround yourselves with others who love His word and will spur you on with truth. This constant fight is not easy. Fighting against my anxiety and my sin struggles is a hard battle. “Taking every thought captive to obey Christ” won’t happen magically for you or me. It’s a lifelong process of sanctification for the believer, a partnership with the living God who brings true satisfaction. And it’s totally worth it all.
Oh God, draw us to your beautiful Word. It is glorious and I pray I fall more in love with it every time I read it.
That’s my prayer for myself and for you.
(Check back next week for some resources to help you with filling your mind with truth!)