Taking Thoughts Captive

There is one phrase that you’ll become very familiar with if you stick around Vision of Hope long enough, and that is “take your thoughts captive”. Perhaps you’ve grown up with the knowledge that 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us: “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.” But what does that really mean? What does it
mean to take thoughts captive? And once they’re taken captive, how do you make them obedient to Christ? These are questions I would not have been able to answer before coming to VOH. I’d like to share with you a little bit of what I’ve been learning about this subject.

The more I consider the areas in which I struggle the most, the
more I am convinced that I do most of my sinning in my mind. It is so easy to
slip into a mindset that is not biblical or pleasing to God. Consider
temptation: where does it start? It starts with a thought and ends with an
action. We know that a thought is sinful when it cannot stand when held up to Scripture. So, a sinful thought pops into our heads, and we allow it to sit there as we mull it over. Before we know it we have not only spent an enormous amount of time thinking on something that is not pleasing to God, but now the thought is stronger and there is a very good chance that it will lead to an action. Now we are thinking on and acting on something that began as a sinful thought, and it becomes must harder to kill this sin! That’s where 2 Corinthians 10:5 steps in.

I have been learning that in order to take a thought captive, I must first become aware that I am thinking sinfully. I find that it is so easy to allow a sinful thought to become so habitual that I’m not even aware that I’m thinking on it anymore. Therefore, I must be earnestly begging God to make me aware of every sinful thought that enters my mind, right at the beginning. This is so important for reaching the goal of having a thought life that is pleasing to the Lord.

So what should we do when we realize that we are thinking on something that is not pleasing to the Lord? Then we take it captive. We tell ourselves, “This thought is not allowed to stay in my mind. I will only allow myself to think on things that are true and biblical. This thought does not stand firm when held against the Bible, so it is not allowed to stay here”. This is where we begin to make our thoughts obedient to Christ.

Ephesians 6 teaches us that God has given us a mighty weapon against the wiles of the devil. He had supplied us with the sharpest, most precise sword that actually discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Eph. 6:17, Hebrews 4:12). This weapon is the Word of God: the Bible. Since we have such a powerful weapon, let’s use it! Making our thoughts obedient to Christ means that we think on things that are Biblical. We ask ourselves, “What does God’s Word say about this thing that I am thinking on? What lies am I believing that I can replace with the truth that God’s Word teaches?” We must find out what is truth, and choose to believe it! God’s Word holds only truth, so we must run there for our answers, taking up this powerful sword.

Taking thoughts captive is not an easy thing. It takes focused time and energy. But through this hard work there is great freedom! For some, this means replacing the lies they have been believing with the truth of God’s Word as it pertains to addictions. For others, the sinful thoughts may be those of arrogance, pride, selfishness, or self-focus. But in all cases, we need to be actively working to take captive our thoughts and think on things that glorify God and draw us closer to Him. This is something that I have been struck with during my time here as an intern, and I am so thankful to be able to share with you. Let’s all strive to show that we truly do love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength!

Bethany Dunn
Bethany heard about Vision of Hope while attending Word of Life Bible Institute in Florida. When she began praying about what God wanted her to do after graduating, He kept bringing Vision of Hope to her mind. Knowing that there was an internship available, Bethany applied, was accepted, and began her internship with VOH in July, 2012. Since then she has been amazed at the opportunities God has given her to learn more about His Word and how it applies to everyday life. Bethany now serves on staff at Vision of Hope.