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The practice of taking thoughts captive is centuries old. The mind is uniquely plagued with earthly desires and selfish ambitions specifically geared everyone’s shortcomings. Not all of the motives carried out by the hands are pure. Over the past week or so, I have sat back and done a lot of self examination. As a person with anxiety and adjustment disorders, this particular practice of taking thoughts captive is one that the Holy Spirit is still molding my spirit with. A perfect devotional is from 2 Corinthians 10 that addresses this issue of thoughts and holding them captive.

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish every disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:5-6.

Thoughts as Devices

Understanding the importance of thoughts is essential to everyday life. They lead life, whether awake or in slumber. Thoughts are defined as “an intention or a hope of doing something,” according to Oxford Dictionary. The Biblical definition is found first in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament. The word used in the Old Testament is “machashebheth,” from the verb “chashabh,” meaning “to think.” This definition is referring to a device or a purpose fixed. Isiaiah 55:7-9 contrasts the mind of man and God:

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the LORD and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, and He will abundantly pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your ways.”

See also Psalms 40:5, Psalms 92:5, Jeremiah 29:11.

Thoughts as a Reasoning Mechanism

The word “dialogismos” is used in the New Testament to describe an inner reasoning or deliberation within the self.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fortifications, thefts, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19

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“If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolish before God. For it is written, ‘He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS,’ and again, ‘The LORD knows the reasoning of the wise, that they are useless.” 1 Corinthians 3:17-20.

See resource Bible Study Tools at their article “Thought.”

The Evidence of a Soul

Thoughts are the evidence of every human having a soul. Understanding who God is, is considerably more important than understanding thoughts. Please see the articles The Attributes of God, The Attributes of God: Letter A, “The Attributes of God: Letter B, and the Attributes of God: Letter C.

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The battle is waged in the spirit and the flesh. The flesh portrays emotions such as fear, control, unrighteous anger, revenge, vengeance, etc. The spirt portrays emotions such as concern, regard, peace, knowing, joy, etc. The two are always in opposition to one another. To someone with anxiety, and even depression, this can be heightened sevenfold. Let’s compare the emotions of worry and concern. Concern is “a matter that engages attention, interest, or care, or that affects a person’s welfare.” Worry is defined as “to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts.” Godly concern will take the focus off of the self. Worry worships self and puts the care in the hands of another person besides God.

Food for Thought

Anxiety and depression are often byproducts of childhood or traumatic experiences. A counselor has told me that due to my traumatic childhood, I look for patterns in others and like to have situations I can control. The reality is we live in a world where not everything is under our control. Our responses, however, are something we can control. I think of the song, “Glorious Day,” by Casting Crowns.

“One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me”
--“Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" by Casting Crowns

The battle has already been won, at Calvary. Christ crucified sin such as anxiety and worry and as such we should do the same with thoughts. Take them captive and put them under prayer at the power of Christ’s blood. This is a practice that will be lifelong for you and I.

Understanding that Christ defines will assist in knowing that anything apart from this is not a healthy definition.

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