How do we take our thoughts captive?

For far too much of my life, depression held my mind. The strength of its hold fluctuated, but I felt like its captive for so very long. Between the birth of my first child and my 30th birthday, God healed me from depression. Since then, He has been teaching me how to take my thoughts captive to prevent not only a relapse (to be clear, I still struggle with depression at times, but it never has held me in the muck and the mire of the put like it did before God freed me) but to also lead me toward total and complete victory in this area.

If we consider the word “captive,” it seems to indicate not letting something run loose and be free to fulfill its desires. When a person is taken captive, he can then be used as a tool by his captives to achieve their goals. A captive is subject to the desires, whims and even compulsions of his captors. That’s what happens with our thoughts too.

“With these weapons, we are destroying speculations and breaking down every proud argument and lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and that keeps people from knowing God. We take every thought captive and conquer rebellious ideas, instead making our thoughts and ideas obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

We take our thoughts captive by pitting them against the truth about God. Only then can our thoughts and ideas become tools for furthering the kingdom of Christ.

What are our weapons?

Our weapons are not of this world. They are spiritual weapons only available to Christ’s followers

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:13-18)

Also known as the full armor of God, our weapons are truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, scripture, and, of course, prayer. The Message version of Ephesians 6:13-18 says we are to “learn how to apply them.” In other words, just as a knight must learn how to operate in his armor as if it’s his second skin, so too much the Christian learn to “take up” God’s armor and operate in it in a way that is natural and efficient for battle.

Why do we take thoughts captive?

Both 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Ephesians 6:13-18 help answer this question. Paul tells the Corinthians to take thoughts captive that are “raised up against the knowledge of God and that keep people from knowing God.” He tells the Ephesians to take up the armor of God to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” In other words, we need to fight against our flesh and against Satan in the world of our thoughts to keep them from drawing our focus away from God.

Take Every Thought Captive, Part 2 provides strategies for consistently taking thoughts captive.