Take Every Thought

Know where you lose your battles with stress, anger, or bad habits?
You don’t try harder or be stronger or do more.
Every battle is lost in your mind, FIRST.

Know why you can’t lose weight?
It’s not because you eat too much, it’s because of how you think.
Know why you can’t confront that person.
It’s not because you don’t know what to say, but because you re-think it too much…

Most (if not all) battles are lost or won in our minds.
By the time we are eating that fifth brownie, it’s too late.
The battle is lost.
But if we would have stopped our thoughts when we first thought about that first brownie, we would not have succumbed.

That’s what Paul says in Corinthians.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God,
and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 

2 Corinthians 10:5.

I had a pastor who always prayed before his sermon that his congregation would “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
He wanted us to hear his message and act on it—instead of thinking about dinner and afternoon plans.

Every thought….
That means when you want to zone out before a movie, you must instead discern every idea that is being presented.

Whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8.

If you used that on your movies and television programs, would you even be watching the news?

Every thought…
That means when you’re listening to music you do not put your mind on autopilot. You listen to the words (even Christian songs) and discern whether they are true or not.
We’ve counseled our boys not to listen to music while they're going to sleep. 
They can’t discern in a subconscious state.
Just because they are "Christian" doesn't mean they are true.
The world's ideas creep into Christian sayings.
We sang in church this past week a song with the phrase, "My one defense, my righteousness." (My righteousness is NOT getting me anything! It should be "Thy righteousness" which is Christ's imputed in me.

Every thought…
That means you evaluate what your pastor or teacher says.
Is it right?
Know what Christians in Berea did?

Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:11. 

These Christians checked what they were taught to see if it matched what the Law and prophets said. (They didn’t have the New Testament.)

Imagine what our churches would be like if every person in the pew studied the Bible like that!
A wolf deceiving the sheep would be caught.
Or a teacher. Or a pastor.
Accountability—not just for the preacher and teachers but for everyone.
This would keep us sharp and ready to give the world answers for their needs.

Know what every thought means?
No exceptions.
No vacations.
No rests.

How do we do that?
We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Our own thoughts are deceitfully wicked. 
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9.
Our ways are against God.

God doesn't take away our thoughts when we are saved.
So how do we even think God’s thoughts?
We’ve talked extensively about saturating our minds with God’s Word, and listening to His Spirit as we read His Word.
That's where our time and energy are spent, if we expect to know what Christ wants us to do.

We can’t just talk about reading the Bible.
We must do it.
As we read, think and prayer over it, God brings those things back to us when we are going about our day.
He brings back that mocker, when we wish to say something hurtful, but funny. See What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
He reminds us that spending money that isn’t ours brings us into servitude. See How Do You Get Strong Faith?
He speaks with His still small voice when we should do something. 

Notice it’s a command.
We are to take….
That means it's our choice.
God’s not going to change the way you think.

Habits are ingrained in our thinking. 
We respond the way we’ve allowed our minds to think.
And it’s evil.
Psychologists describe these habits.
We create grooves in our minds by how we think.
Those grooves get deeper and deeper, the more we respond the same way.
And a habit is formed—whether its drinking, smoking, eating, getting angry or something good like being thankful and grateful.
When trauma or a battle comes, we revert back to those habits—and act on them.
Those grooves are deep.

We must RE-groove our minds with the Word of God.
When we have needs or temptations, instead of trying to solve that need on our own, we must go to God’s Word for His answer.
As we do, we train our minds to bring every thought into captivity to God’s will.
We make new grooves.
As we continue to respond with the Word, those old grooves become less intense.
It becomes easier to respond the way God would have us to.
But even as we are responding, we are not alone.
God is clearly telling us to react this way---so He will enable us.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.
And God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 
I Corinthiains 10:13.

Job, when he lost everything, responded by how he trained himself. 
Did he try harder? No.
Did he pity himself? Not initially.
Did he blame others? No.
Look at the verse:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. Job 1:20.

He worshipped.
Want to know how you would respond to suffering?
How do you respond now?
Eat more? Withdraw from everyone? Blame others?
Know how Job responded?
He worshipped.
He knew he couldn't fight the battle on his own.
He knew he wasn't strong enough to fix the problems.
He worshipped.

How could he could do that?
Because that was what he trained himself to do in everything.
Job took every thought captive to the will of Christ.
He found through his suffering that some of his thoughts weren't God's.
He thought they were, but he wasn't thinking like God but like everyone else.
By worshipping and asking God, God showed Job where he was thinking wrong.
And Job adjusted his thinking.
And worshipped.

Take every thought captive to the will of Christ.
And worship.

Displaying 1 comment

Boy, you sure hit the nail on the head. I'm going to be reading this again and again and remembering the words, "He worshipped." Thank you so much, Sonya, for sharing the wisdom God gives you.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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