Day 73: Take Every Thought Captive
OUR THOUGHTS INFLUENCE OUR CHOICES
With every thought we are faced with a choice. Will we choose to dwell on the things of God? Or we choose to dwell on the things of the enemy? Take every thought as an opportunity to glorify God. With each passing moment we are choosing to become more like him or less like him.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
The more we dwell on the things of God, the weaker the strongholds in our mind get. These strongholds desire to drive us into darkness. To this day there are images that I remember from my childhood that I haven’t been able to erase. Maybe I’ll never be able to completely forget them, but when they briefly come into my mind, it reminds me to take every thought captive to Christ.
The past is gone and your old self with it. Our minds have been renewed and transformed by the power of Christ. We ought to take hold of that by rebuking the thoughts of the devil as they enter our minds. Taking every thought captive means being in a constant state of awareness. It means being self-controlled and alert, never ceasing to pray and seek after God. This is hard at first, but as with any habit, it gets easier over time.
Don’t give up. I struggled to be free for nearly 10 years and finally was able to embrace the mercy and grace of God in such an amazing way. He rescued me from that pit of darkness and he can do the same for you.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." In solely redirecting our thoughts or eyes we are ignoring the attack rather than resisting it. So what is the process of taking every thought captive to Christ?
Recognize the attack
This is the "bouncy eyes" part that we've discussed in previous lessons. Rather than entertaining the thought or continuing to look, we interpret it as an assault that must be dealt with, and we might momentarily redirect ourselves until we can deal with the attack.
Identify the weak points
The enemy will hit us in our weak spots, and we need to recognize the chinks in our armor. Even small temptations can be connected to grave agreements such as, "I need a beautiful spouse to be happy." Identify the areas you are being tempted and the lies associated with them. Writing this down can be helpful.
And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. -Matthew 5:30
Proclaim the truth
Knowing what assaults us, we utilize scripture and the authority of Christ to dismantle the temptation. It is important that we grow in the knowledge of scripture so that we can confront the schemes of evil. (It may be good to discuss binding evil here as mentioned in Matthew 18:18!) We need to know who we are, and who can give us the desires of our heart.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin... -Romans 6:6
Submit yourself to Jesus
Knowing that we are covered under the grace purchased by the blood and resurrection of Christ, we move forward under the redeemed identity He gives us. We can proclaim that we are no longer slaves of sin, but warriors of righteousness.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. -Romans 6:1-7
Day 73 Application
How well would you say you do at dwelling on each of the attributes included in the verses above? Would God use words like this to describe the things that you think about? Have you begun to make a habit of being heavenly minded?
How are you in your journey towards freedom? Are you experiencing lasting victory? What weak points in your life have you identified?
Why is it important that we focus on helping others once we have been brought to restoration? How would your spiritual life change if you did or did not choose to help others?
Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity? If it has been difficult, what are you doing about it?