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Captured Thoughts

December 10, 2012

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” – II Cor. 10:5

 

What does that mean, exactly, to take your thoughts captive? While I’ve heard several interpretations of this particular verse, I personally believe that what Paul is advising here is to spiritually nip evil in the bud: to stop it before it even starts. Some people, I know, see thoughts themselves as harmless – that only deeds matter: so, in their minds an evil or harmful thought is completely different from an evil or harmful deed. Because we all have those bad thoughts occasionally, don’t we? But the only real difference is that a deed is just a thought that has been acted upon…and it’s a relatively small step in most cases from thought to action, isn’t it? Especially the more we tend to dwell on some of those thoughts. I’d like you to take a moment and imagine your thoughts as seeds, and your mind as the ground those seeds are planted in. Depending on which thoughts you feed and nurture – and how fertile the ground you plant them in – are which will eventually ‘bloom’ into actions. And the fruit of your actions reflects the fruit of your mind…and by our fruits we are known. So, which thoughts are we feeding most? Which find the most fertile ground within us? Do our minds dwell in sin, or in Christ? “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7)

 

This is why, I believe, we are advised to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ!” We need to grow spiritually; to come to a place where we can stop those bad thoughts before they can grow into something else. We need to make the soil of our minds fertile only to the fruit of the Spirit, rather than the unfruitful works of darkness. Again: depending on which thoughts we entertain are the ones the devil knows he can whisper subtly in our ears, urging us to consider them, and all the while they grow deeper and deeper roots within us until we finally act on them! This is what Satan wants! This is his most successful tool: to use our minds as breeding grounds for the thoughts that will destroy us. He doesn’t make us do anything: I imagine he takes more pleasure in sitting back and watching us do it to ourselves! A few whispers on his part and then we do all the work for him!

 

Take for instance: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath: neither give place to the devil.” (Eph. 4:26-27) This is why anger is such a dangerous thing: because while yes, there is such a thing as righteous anger, most times our anger isn’t righteous at all. Instead, it opens our minds to evil of one sort or another; it festers and boils and feeds the darkness within us, and those bad seeds start to bloom all over the place – and before you know it we’re doing exactly what we are warned by Paul not to do: we are giving place to the devil. Best, I think, to take anger captive; best to control it before it controls you. And trust me, I’m an authority on anger issues.

 

Today, let us all work harder on taking our thoughts captive – to turn them to the obedience of Christ, so that we can truly say that we serve Him with body, heart, and mind. Let our thoughts glorify Him, so that our actions might do the same; we just need to start planting the seeds of righteous thoughts, while nipping the evil ones in the bud. Don’t let your mind be poisoned by the enemy: remember that it is a spiritual war we wage against him, and that we need to deprive him of those tools he uses against us so well! If we can but spend time in meditation and study, in prayer and fellowship, keeping our thoughts fixed upon good, Godly things, then we can make our minds fertile for the fruit of the Holy Spirit: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:1-2)

 

Because it is possible to turn our minds into strongholds for God, rather than for sinful weaknesses: it just all starts with our thoughts – with the seeds we plant within, just as the ones we plant without. So, let us turn our thoughts towards Jesus, and plant those seeds for Him, so “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:6)

 

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  – Philipians 4:8

Be blessed,

Joshua

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