Week 2: Internal Relational Skills
DAY 10: Taking Every Thought Captive
It has been my experience that people do not think that managing what they think is as important as managing what they say. I will certainly applaud the discipline of being “slow to speak” (Js. 1:19) as a worthy discipline. We have far less messes to clean up when we watch what we say and how we say it. However, when we don’t give equal or more attention to follow what God tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5, most of us eventually speak out of turn anyway. It says to “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.” This is an internal work. All of us have thoughts swimming around our heads that do not line up with the Word of God. I have often told people, “By the way, every thought that crosses your mind, is not necessarily yours to keep!” Many of them had no idea. They thought that because it was in their head, they just had to believe it and own it as theirs! God wants you to be very mindful of your thoughts. If our thoughts don’t agree with His thoughts (which we find in the Bible), He invites us to “renew your mind” and “repent” (go to the highest place of thinking – HIS!). Think of this like you think of a penthouse. Like it is the highest point in a building, God’s thoughts are the purest, highest, best way of thinking. Exchange your ways and thoughts for His. Obviously some of our thoughts are our own, but some of our thoughts are actually generational. He invites us to look at whether the way we were raised truly lines up with His best plan. Most of our parents did their best, but no parent is perfect so we need to be open to refinement here. And lastly, some of our thoughts are not our thoughts at all, but our enemy the devil trying to influence us away from God’s best. Sometimes this is even done with personal pronouns! For example, “I’m going to fail. I don’t know what I’m doing.” This is a classic lie the enemy would want us to believe especially when God is calling us to a new thing. If we don’t fulfill His call, Kingdom is not advanced. This is a common scheme to hold us back. However, if we take seriously His command to “take every thought captive”, no matter where the thought originated, we will head any of them off at the pass. I live by a personal conviction that if my thoughts and His thoughts differ on a matter, I change! The great thing is that I benefit as well as those around me.
Think about how your relationships would change if you decided to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If the thought is self-depreciating, you would have to take that captive and adopt more loving patient thoughts toward yourself, because He loves you with an everlasting love. You have value as illustrated by the price He paid for you! If your thought is negative about your spouse, and you asked God how He sees your spouse, you would find the same truths! Your spouse is loved, has value, and is made in His image. You would then take critical thoughts and exchange them for ones of appreciation for what God has put in him or her. If you are upset at a child, again asking how God views that child and the disciplinary situation provides more opportunities for upgrades in thinking. The trouble is, many of us aren’t even asking Him! We just think about the problems, come up with our own solutions, and then can’t figure out why we don’t feel better or why our situation is not improving. Ask the One who sees all, and has the very best in store for you and those you love, for His view on things. The other awesome benefit is that, not only will He tell you what His will is, but He promises to give you the strength to carry it out! (Phil. 2:13)
Declare over yourself, “I am a person who looks first at myself and what I am thinking and whether it lines up with God’s thoughts on the matters that concern me. If we don’t see things the same, I am the one who changes because He sees further than I can see and knows me better than I know myself. As I trust Him, believe Him, and obey Him, especially in the privacy of my own mind, I see many amazing transformations in me and in my circumstances. “