Our minds can be like the wild west. There are no rules or sheriffs, and whatever thought or idea is the most powerful takes control. We get built up and torn down repeatedly within the same day by what we allow to take up residence in our heads. But as Christians, we aren’t meant to be controlled by our thoughts or the feelings that fuel them. We’re supposed to surrender every part of ourselves to the Lord, including the parts that nobody else sees.
“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.”2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
We hear people talking about our prayer lives, work lives, and home lives. But we very rarely talk about our thought lives. Our thoughts live in this morally gray area, where we can think whatever we want and feel okay about it because we’re not actually hurting anyone if we don’t say them out loud. And it’s this type of thinking that slowly poisons our minds until we’re sinning with our thoughts and we don’t even recognize it.
What we think directly influences how we act. It doesn’t matter if we don’t voice our thoughts with our mouths because our actions will speak loudly enough for us. That’s why we are to not only offer our bodies as living sacrifices before the Lord but to wrestle our thoughts into His throne room as well. It’s easy to look like a put-together Christian on the outside, but on the inside be rotting away because our thoughts are steeped in the sinful lies of the enemy.
So how do we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ?
- Spot your thoughts – rather than letting them go through your mind unhindered, take note of them. What causes you to think certain things? Is there something that triggers sinful thoughts? You need to become aware of what you’re thinking and counting as truth instead of being a bystander in your own mind.
- Stand in the Word of God – we’re supposed to measure what we think against the truth of Scripture, which means that we first need to know what the Bible says. Spend time soaking in the Word so that you can quickly identify what is of the Lord and what is not.
- Surrender your thoughts before the Lord – humbly walk into the throne room of the Lord and lay your thought life before Him. Surrender it all to Him, even the parts you don’t want anyone else to see.
- Soak in His truth – once you’ve identified the triggers, rooted out the lies, and left them at the foot of the cross, you need to replace them with something. Otherwise, you’ll keep replacing one sin with another. So, once you’ve taken off the old self, put on the truth of God.
- Rinse and Repeat – taking our thoughts captive isn’t a one-time thing. We’re constantly thinking, which means that we need to be continually spotting, standing, surrendering, and soaking. We can’t do this on our own, but through the Lord’s grace and mercy, He will help us every step of the way and pick us up when we fall short.
There will be days when it’s easy to capture and surrender our thoughts. And then there will be days when the battle gets more demanding, we grow weary because we’ve trying to fight all on our own, and we end up feeling defeated. But it only takes a moment to call out to the Lord for help. To bring our battle-weary hearts and minds before God and surrender to His love and mercy.
Changing your thought life isn’t going to be easy. The enemy wants to keep you trapped in a spiral of sinful thoughts because when he has control over your mind, he has control over your heart as well. The enemy will always try to poison our thoughts first because our minds are our source of information for how we act and live. Suppose our hearts and minds are filled with pride, lust, anger, greed, and contempt. In that case, we can be pretty sure that we stopped surrendering our thoughts to the Lord somewhere along the way and began believing the lies.
There are days when I feel so under attack and defeated by my own brain. And it’s on those days that I praise the Lord that His mercies are new every morning and that He gives me grace every day. Keep fighting the good fight. Take steps towards guarding your hearts and minds, and don’t forget to rinse and repeat multiple times a day. We have a lifetime of surrender ahead of us, so let’s start learning how to do it well.