How Exactly Are We Supposed To Every Thought Captive?

Our thoughts are with us at all hours of the day.

Even as we first wake up, our thoughts are what greets us first, aren’t they? Immediately, we are told in our minds that we are too tired for what is ahead for the day, and so we groan.

We have a job to go to that we don’t consider our life’s dream. We have children that are about to bound from their beds and steal our moments of drinking a full cup of hot coffee. Maybe we have chronic pain that will launch as soon as we lift our bodies from the bed. All these thoughts and we haven’t even turned the alarm off yet.

For myself, thoughts can lurk into my kitchen as I’m doing dishes, and they can worm their way into my mind, tempting me to think, Why am I standing here with another round of dishes? Isn’t my time more valuable than laundry, cleaning, and trips to the grocery store?

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 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. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Paul says here to take every thought captive. This means every thought you experience will either aid you in this fight for faith, or it is a thought that is “raised against the knowledge of God”, and will make trusting God nearly impossible.

But what does it mean to take every thought captive? Do you lie in wait for a thought to pass by and grab it and grill it with questions until it surrenders? Well, actually, it appears that God’s word tells us it’s exactly like that. We find that out as we read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us what God’s word is used for.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Every Thought Held Against God’s Word

God’s word has been given to us to be complete, to be equipped for every good work, it’s what we hold up to see if we are walking in the light or in darkness.

It’s what we use when a thought crosses our mind and it’s time to interrogate.

Thoughts, are you helping me see these dishes as being the hands of Christ for my family, or are you tempting me to feel selfish about my time and usefulness?

Thoughts, are you helping me see the hope given to me in Jesus or are you making me rely on myself for strength?

Are you blinding my sight of Jesus and making the world more valuable to me?

Are you making me look too far down the road of unknowns and causing me to forget to look to Jesus who knows and plans all of my days?

Are you asking me to peer into earthly wisdom or are you pointing me to Jesus who is my wisdom?

Using God’s word to take these thoughts into question, lining them up against his truth and his promises is how we can know if these thoughts are something we need to put to death, or if we need them to continue in our journey to look more like Christ.

How do we know if God’s word will hold as our weapon in battle?

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8

Our battle, as Paul says, is not against what we can see and touch, as flesh and blood. But it’s taking place in a spiritual world that is fighting for our hearts. All swords eventually get rusty and dull. Horses of battle get wounded and fall. Our own strength in our arms to wrestle against an enemy will fail us.

But, the very weapon to sustain us in every battle, to complete us in every good work, to filter every thought as hopeful or the enemy’s scheme, will never fade or wither. God’s word stands forever.

Every Thought Pointing To The Finished Work Of Jesus

After Jesus died and rose again to sit on his throne, he made it possible for us to always have hopeful and true thoughts. He made a way for us to escape hopelessness and despair, no matter our circumstance.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

We have been given the righteousness of God, and in order to give us that, Jesus took on the most gruesome outcome that our thoughts could ever imagine, the very wrath and anger of a Holy God. We can confidently say, “I can trust the Lord with this situation right now, and I can trust him with what is to come.”

In this world, our battle will always be to trust the wisdom of God. We will always have to renew our minds that Jesus is worthy of our trust.

Whatever your circumstance may be, he’s provided you with his word to fight for you in this battle until the day you can place your weapon down at last and rest. The word is the weapon with which you take every thought captive.

Every Thought Placed Under The Submission of Christ

All time belongs to the Lord, the past, present, and future. So even the circumstances that lead us to feeling out of control, we can joyfully surrender them under his reign. It’s what we sing as a church on Sunday, “From life’s first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”

We don’t pretend to have the power and wisdom in our own hands, we give it to the one we can trust, who says, “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18.

Every thought can be placed under this kind of power, the one who died and now lives forevermore and has the very power over death. Our time of anxiety is useless and wasteful compared to offering up our fears to the one who conquered fear itself.

Lisa Blanco

Lisa lives in the southwest with her husband, Ernie. When she's not chasing their four children (with one on the way), she writes at the blog, and loves the chance to read good books.