Taking Thoughts Captive :: by Nathele Graham

Every day of our life we make choices. For instance, we choose what to wear, how we spend  our money, who we are friends with, and so forth. Many choices seem routine but the most important choice a person can make is whether or not to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation. When we ask Him into our lives, the way we make decisions should change.

Rather than using the standards accepted by the world, our choices should reflect a biblical point of view. Instead of carnal choices encouraged by the god of this world (Satan), we need to make choices that reflect our walk with Jesus. Our actions are guided by our thoughts. If you control your thoughts then you can control your actions.

“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.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

It’s easy to allow pride to get in the way of our relationship with Jesus, but if you humble yourself before Him, your thoughts will be a reflection of His will. Prideful and carnal thoughts (which are not Scriptural) need to be taken captive in obedience to Christ.

Most people have a habit of dividing life into categories. There’s the work category, the home category, the “What I Do on Friday night” category, and way off in a remote corner is the Sunday morning category. The Sunday category is small because it only requires an hour or two out of the week.

Different rules are applied to each category. You certainly wouldn’t tell a dirty joke or cuss at Sunday school, but it’s okay for work or Friday night. There should only be one category in a Christian’s life called “I Live for Christ” and the rules for each category in life should only be Christ-centered.

When you’re at work, dress appropriately and take your thoughts captive so that your co-workers can see Christ living in you. The same applies to your free time. Are your friends Christians? It’s easier to keep thoughts under control if we don’t spend time with people who ignore Jesus. What do you look at on television or on the computer? Anything that’s opposed to a godly way of life only serves the enemy.

You may think that you’re sitting there alone looking at pornography or a movie filled with violence and hate, but Jesus is there, too. He knows your thoughts. If every thought is taken captive you won’t need to be embarrassed before Him or anyone else. When Jesus walked this earth He spent time with many people. Even then people would try to hide their thoughts from Him but He always knew what they were thinking.

One time He healed a sick man and said the man’s sins were forgiven. The Scribes took offense and thought He had committed blasphemy. Jesus knew what they were thinking.

“And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?’” (Matthew 9:4)

Does He have that same question for you?

We teach our children at a young age to think like the world. Public school is not a place to          find Christian values. Add to that the influence of secular music, television, and the internet      and both you and your children have satanic messages continually inundating all thoughts.   News headlines reflect the state of mind of too many people.

We read stories of school shootings, groups of people beating up other people, murder within families, road rage and many more atrocities that stem from the god of this world. These are    just a few of the violent manifestations that happen when a person does not take their thoughts captive unto the obedience of Christ. There is no sane reason for such violence. Not all evil thoughts are violent but they all need to be put out of our minds.

Lust of the flesh is the basis of most sinful thoughts which result in sinful actions. Does someone you know have a nicer car than you? Do you lust after your neighbor’s spouse?            Many people don’t honor marriage at all and have no problem jumping into bed with their               latest “flame.”

This might be understandable, though not acceptable, for secular people who don’t know Jesus. Sadly, many Christians allow sinful thoughts into their minds and let them grow to fruition and show in their actions. Pray about the thoughts that come into your mind that don’t reflect Christ. Temptations come our way, but they are not from God and He will help you to overcome the lust.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13-15)

Wrong thoughts don’t have to turn into wrong actions. Take them before God and ask Him to help you to resist temptations. When you accept Christ as your Savior your life should be changed. Instead of continuing to serve the god of this world and the evil he encourages, your desire should be to serve Jesus.

It’s not easy to suddenly stop the bad habits we formed while living worldly lives and thinking worldly thoughts. Take those thoughts captive and turn them over to Jesus. Once you get your mind thinking right it becomes easier to serve our Lord.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

A living sacrifice is just that. You live in this world, but not according to its ways. Every choice you make should be filtered through God’s Word and your thoughts should center upon Him. The Bible is the guide to Christian living. Once you consciously turn away from the bad habits of the world, new habits will replace them. You’ll choose clothing that’s modest, you won’t get angry at things that people do.

You’ll feel more comfortable when you’re surrounded by Christian friends than with people who drag you into sin. You’ll realize that God only permits sexual relations within a one man/one woman marriage and you will honor that truth. What about choosing a career?

Ask God to lead you into one that He knows is best for you. Don’t base any choice on what the world dictates, but keep your thoughts tuned to God in order to take guidance from Him. When you serve Christ you put Him first and seek His will in your life. You become a living sacrifice.

It may not seem important today, but one day soon you will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Every Christian can look forward to that day. It won’t be a judgment of condemnation, but one where rewards are given for various works we did in our lives. Works don’t save us but everything we do for Christ will matter on that day of judgment.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)

If you learn to take every thought captive and do all things for Christ, you will earn a crown of life. That crown will be worth turning away from any temptation that comes your way while walking through this world. Jesus knows your thoughts and sees your actions. Be sure that what He sees in you is worthy of the crown of life.

Many times we forget that whatever we do is a reflection of Christ. How often do you get angry with someone over a minor wrong, but forget the forgiveness you found when you came to the Cross? Jesus forgave the people who condemned Him and those who nailed Him to the cross.

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus chose to go to the cross and shed His precious blood for you and for me. As a Christian you need to choose to follow Him. Take every thought captive and let His love rule your life.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham