No More Mind Games: The Art of Taking Thoughts Captive
I got lost the other day. That is nothing new. This time though, I’d like to fully and unforgivably blame Google maps.
I did everything right. I clicked on the address provided to me, which transferred me from my email directly to my Google maps app. I followed the instructions to a tee. Exit here, turn there, I did exactly what I was supposed to do.
And then, somehow, I ended up twenty miles away from where I was supposed to be.
I then cursed Google maps. I’m not saying I am proud of that, but the truth is, I did it.
Mid-swear word I felt a familiar twinge, it was my conscious nagging me as if often does, reminding me I wasn’t completely innocent in this scenario. If I had used that large organ three feet above my butt, I would have realized I was driving the complete opposite direction of the city of my destination. I have lived in this large metropolis we call Phoenix for twenty years. I should know better.
Instead, I trusted Google maps, blindly.
“You are Google Maps. King of all other GPS/ map apps. You right. I wrong.” I chanted unknowingly with a certain cavewoman air.
And then, I was struck with some terrifying questions. What voices echoing in my head am I investing way too much stock in? And what kind of fall out will I face from my poor investment? Who was I trusting to guide the direction of my life? And were they even trustworthy?
A verse began to surface in my mind “…We take captive every though to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Ever wondered what that means and how it’s possible to capture thoughts?
I certainly have.
And now, I was especially interested in figuring out the answer. My brief tap dance with Google maps reminded me how often I let someone else or something else take the lead. My dance card gets full with all kinds of suiters that don’t actually deserve my attention or time. Can you relate?
Paul says, in this particular section of his letter to the church at Corinth, that although “we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.” What is the war being waged? You might ask. Paul stands at the front lines, single minded and laser focused on his battle plan , to spread the word that Jesus is the Christ. The victory he has in mind -that all people might have “knowledge of God.” And where is the battlefield for this war? It’s our minds.
In ancient cities there was always a wall, a barrier to protect its inhabitants from outside attack. In that wall was a fortified tower. Should the walls be breached a small amount of solders could successfully defend the city from the tower. If those two strongholds were taken out, the war was over.
The strongholds Paul is looking to demolish with his weapons equipped with divine power are arguments and every pretension. One commentary defined these as, “reasonings that take shape in the mind that are worked out in life and in action.” This is why the front line of battle takes place in the mind. What might begin as a mere thought can quickly develop into something much more significant.
Back to my original question; how do we take every thought captive? It begins with identifying and naming arguments and pretenses that serve as strongholds in our minds. Maybe they sound like:
“You can’t be a good mother because your mother was a terrible mother.”
“You can’t get that promotion at work because there are hundreds of far more qualified people that deserve it way more than you.”
“You can’t live a life of any worth because of past mistakes and shame.”
“You are a loser and you’ll never have anything significant to give to this world.”
Any of these sound familiar?
Once you take a flaming arrow armed with divine power and shoot these arguments and pretenses down you’ve begun the journey of thought captivity. You see each of these arguments come with a whole bunch of thoughts egging them on, breathing life into them. They sound like:
“I can’t,” or “I won’t,” or “What if,” or “Not now,” or “why me?”
And when you can take these captive, you get to squelch their voice, you get to take back the power they wield over your life. And for a while it’s quiet. And then after a little while longer you’ll discover the strength to force those thoughts to bend a knee and be submitted to Christ. And now they sound different. They sound like:
“I can,” and “I will,” and “Now,” and “Why not me?”
And then the victory is yours, a life filled not with impossibilities but infinite possibilities.
I want that kind of life. What about you?
What kinds of arguments and pretenses need to be shot down and what kind of thoughts need to be taken captive and made obedient to Christ?