You are what you eat. You’ve heard that cliche before, right? How about this one…garbage in, garbage out. These two sayings have something in common and that is, what you feed yourself will come out one way or another. Today we’re going to talk about how to cultivate a healthy mind by taking your thoughts captive.
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Taking Thoughts Captive in Context
You know I’m not about to take a Scripture verse out of context so let’s look at the whole of 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Paul teaches us that our weapons are not carnal weapons, they are powerful through God.
What is powerful? Our thoughts are powerful. Look at verse 5 again for it speaks of “imagination” and “thought.” These are powerful because when we think thoughts, we often carry through on those thoughts. That’s power.
Flip over the pages in your Bible to Micah 2:1-3. These are powerful verses illustrating the extent of thoughts towards evil. Let me condense this passage for you.
Woe to them who deliberately plan evil while laying on their beds. When they get up in the morning, they begin to put their plans into action. They take what they want, whether it is a violent capture or not as they don’t care about others.
This is due to the power of their thoughts.
But back to our text, look again at verse 4. Our spiritual weapons are so powerful that they can pull down spiritual strongholds!
Your thoughts can be used to devise wickedness or used to put a stop to demonic activity.
Your Thoughts and Demonic Activity
It’s important that you understand that there is a connection between taking your thoughts captive and demonic attacks. Our text verse surrounding 2 Corinthians 10:5 clearly explains that.
Does this mean that every thought is an evil thought? No, that’s not what it is referring to. You need to be consciously aware of the source of your thoughts.
You more than likely know that the devil has one job description and that is to kill, steal and destroy, John 10:10. He will use anything and everything at his disposal to accomplish that task. He will use your thoughts too.
Sometimes you’ll think thoughts that are so subtle that you slowly begin to believe them. Thoughts such as “you’re not that pretty,” or “no one cares about your opinion,” or even, “no one really likes you because you have no friends.”
These are evil thoughts, demonic attacks. They are lies whispered to you from the father of lies, satan and or his demons
Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 2:11, Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Be aware of the enemy’s tactics! Don’t let him fill your mind with garbage.
The Christian and Demonic Activity
When I speak of demonic activity, do you imagine seeing ugly creatures roaming around poking at people causing havoc in their lives? That’s exactly what happens. And one of their tools is using your thoughts against you. This is spiritual warfare and you need to know how to fight.
Oh, and to clarify. A born-again believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit and power of God cannot be demon-possessed at the same time. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world, 1 John 4:4.
However, demons can harass you, pick at you, whisper lies, and cause sickness and pain among other things. They are outside of you, not in you. You still have to deal with spiritual warfare.
We’ll talk more about this in a future post.
5 Steps to Creating a Healthy Mindset
We all want to have healthy thoughts and we can, by knowing how to cultivate a healthy thought life. Taking your thoughts captive when they are invasive or evil is vital.
God’s Word has many verses to encourage you to think purely. Let’s look at a few of the ways to create a healthy mind.
1. Recognize that Your Thoughts Have Power
It’s important to fully comprehend that your thoughts are powerful. We already read in Micah 2:1-3 the power of evil thoughts. The opposite of this is true as well. There is power in good thoughts.
Let’s think about how often you “think.” You’re laying in bed and just before you fall asleep, you begin to think. Your thoughts may be doing a review of the day’s activities, the things you said, the tasks you accomplished and those tasks you didn’t get done. Those are first on tomorrow’s list.
So now, your thoughts turn to tomorrow. Oh, don’t forget, you need to spend time with God. Then, get the kids ready for school or daycare. Maybe you home school your children and your plan is an outing to the local library. Your thoughts take you through the day, what you will do, what you will make for supper and all the rest that makes up your day.
You think a lot. In fact, you’re made up of thoughts. Some of your thoughts come to fruition while others didn’t make it out of the gate.
The power of your thoughts is that you actually do something based on what you were thinking. You make something, you say something, you put into action what you were thinking. That’s power.
Thoughts may come, thoughts may persist, but thoughts that are not put into action, die unborn.Kenneth Hagin
2. Be Aware of Your Thoughts
It’s important to be consciously aware of your thoughts. Too often we operate on autopilot and we’re not aware of our surroundings. Sometimes that can get you in trouble.
For example, have you ever been in a conversation with someone and after a few moments you tuned them out? As they continue to talk to you, you respond with noncommittal responses. “Aha,” “that’s right,” “hmmm.” This is a sign that you are not aware of what the other person is saying.
Your thoughts can be like that too. You think things without giving them serious thought or checking out if that idea is feasible or not. Not all thoughts are practical or beneficial to carry out. Like, right now I would love to run a mile and if I put my running shoes on and head out the door, carrying out that thought isn’t practical. I wouldn’t make it.
So, be aware of what your thoughts because not all thoughts are evil.
Did you know that social media plays a part in your thoughts? Yep, you’ve seen those pictures on Instagram of that happy couple and you think of how you and your spouse are having trouble. “If only…”
Or, you saw the pic of that gal who looked “hot” and you begin to compare yourself. “If only…”
Maybe it was a post via Facebook about how someone survived a major health scare and you think, “if only…”
Don’t compare yourself to someone else. The enemy will use whatever he can to get you to think thoughts that are discouraging. He wants you to compare yourself so that it leads to depression, or it leads to you not being an encouragement to someone else. As long as you are not pointing others to Jesus, he’s fine with that.
Be aware of thoughts.
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3. Garbage In, Garbage Out
I mentioned this cliche at the start of this post. When you allow garbage in your mind, sooner or later it’s going to come out.
So, how do you allow garbage in? And, what is this “garbage?”
Garbage such as swearing, cursing, or bad language that does not build up but tears down or is offensive. You can find the entry points through watching TV shows or movies. And don’t think that movies rated for 14 and under are healthy to watch either because that’s when desensitizing starts, with the children.
Garbage can be found in violent movies or movies that portray the opposite of Biblical standards.
The entertainment industry is another entry point for garbage. Be careful what you listen to. You may have like rock ‘n roll back in the day but now that you are born again and belong to Jesus, should you be listening to it still? Put aside the tune to analyze the lyrics. Is it healthy for you?
Sooner or later your thoughts will turn to the garbage that you allowed in your mind. Words may spill out of your mouth that you had no intention of saying. That’s because it was hidden in your mind and heart.
The Soft Porn Garbage
Books and magazines are often filled with garbage, such as the acceptance of the alternate lifestyle that is so prevalent in society today. If you like novels, be careful of what you read. Soft porn exists in many of them.
Soft porn is descriptive words that feed your imagination of what’s happening. You’ll notice it when your breathing changes as you read the words. Don’t buy into this trap! It’s garbage and will lead you to
Oh, and soft porn exists in Christian novels too. I recently found an author whose storylines I enjoy but I discovered many passages where intimacy was detailed to the point that I consider it soft porn. I will no longer read her books!
Shut the door on the garbage. Repent, ask God for forgiveness and ask Him to cleanse you from the inside out. Then, think on good things.
4. Think Good Thoughts
I’ve been thinking about the Apostle Paul. He sure played a vital role in Christianity as he preached to the Gentile nations.
One of the things he helped believers with is found in Philippians 4:8. Years ago, I had a t-shirt with this text on it, written like this:
whatsoever things are
of good report;
if there be any virtue,
if there be any praise,
think on these things.
If you want to be successful at taking every thought captive, this is the answer. Think about good things. Control your thoughts, control what goes in your mind.
Sometimes though, if you’ve let enough garbage in your life, you may find that it comes out when you least expect it to. You’ve repented of it but it’s still there.
As time goes on, you’ll find that less and less of it will sneak out. Why? Because more and more good things have entered in your heart and mind. You’ve begun to cultivate controlling your mind and thoughts. The more good stuff you get in, the less bad stuff will leak out.
Related Post: Discovering Your Identity in Christ reminds you of who you are in Christ…good things to think of about yourself!
5. Guard Your Mind by Taking Evil Thoughts Captive
The garbage in part happens because you find yourself living in this world. But, there’s good news. You don’t have to be like the world. You’re different, remember? You live in the world but you’re not part of the world.
In fact, Paul teaches us to not be like the world in Romans 12:1-2, but instead, choose to be transformed. How? By renewing your mind. Controlling your thoughts. Taking your thoughts, every thought, captive.
This is active duty. This won’t happen by chance. It will only happen by a conscious decision to be aware of your thoughts so you can control what you think and how you act.
The writer of Hebrews teaches us that the Word of God discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, Hebrews 4:12. As you read God’s Word, it will convict you of sin and sinful thoughts. With conviction, repentance follows as does forgiveness.
Be on active duty to control what you allow your mind to think. When you find your thoughts taking an ungodly turn, stop in mid thought and rebuke it. Do not continue to dwell on that thought but rather take control of it and begin to think of things that are pure, good, lovely, virtuous, true, and honest.
The more you practice this, the easier it will become. And the more you know what is in the Word of God, the easier it will be to put into practice what it says.
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Extra Scripture Verses to Encourage You
As I mentioned earlier, there are many verses related to helping you control your thoughts by taking them captive. Here are a few more that you may find encouraging.
- Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Don’t let anyone feed you ideas that are contrary to the Gospel of Christ.
- Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole
armourof God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Guard against the devil filling your mind with lies.
- Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Protect your mind!
- Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Keep your mind on God and you will find yourself living in His peace.
If you’re looking for a quick read that is similar to this, check this out. Doug
That’s a Wrap
Your mind is a beautiful thing! Keep it that way by controlling or taking every thought captive that is not a clean or godly thought.
God commands us to be holy as He is holy and this includes controlling your thought life. Your mind is a battlefield that satan wants to control. Don’t let him. Instead, do everything you can to protect your mind.
Be aware of the source of your thoughts and know that you can control them. Win the battle for your mind by taking ungodly thoughts captive. Following these steps will help you to create a healthy mindset.
Is there another verse or passage that you rely on to help you create a healthy mindset? Please share it with me as I’d love to hear from you.
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Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through Women’s Tabletop Friendship.