"Hold every thought captive!" Those words are so powerful! They are the answer to most of our problems. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Nothing “just happens”, even though we say it does. How many times have we heard someone explain away sexual immorality of some sort by saying “it just happened”.
No! It started with a thought.
In that moment that the thought slid into their conscious mind, they grabbed hold of it. In that split second, the thought is either embraced or thrown out. It is hardly even a conscious action. Once they embrace that thought by thinking about it, meditating on it…yes meditating on it. That only means to play it over and over in your mind. When you meditate on scripture, you say that scripture over and over in your mind. You plant it in your mind. That also happens with a sinful trap that has been sent to you. Playing that thought over and over in your mind plants it there. You begin to fantasize about it--that waters and fertilizes the seed--and it grows and until it becomes an overpowering desire. Then “it just happens”.
That is only one example. Most of our problems and emotional misery in our lives starts with a thought that we allow to get planted in our minds. Fear, anxiety, depression, worry, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, addictions, bad financial choices, being abusive, criminal behavior, all the way up to murder—all start with a thought that is embraced and allowed to take root in our mind. Then we feed it and water it by continuing to think about it and even talk about it, until it is so overpowering, we can’t control ourselves!
To develop self-control and not be controlled by your emotions and desires, when a thought comes to your mind, grab hold of it in your mind. Now hold that thought up to God’s Word. How does it measure up? How does it measure up to your walk with the Lord? If it doesn’t, immediately cast it out of your mind! Yes, visualize your hand throwing it far away from you. Then guard your mind from allowing it back in. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
Two lies that will defeat you if you believe them:
- Fantasies are harmless because it is only in your mind and you won't act on them. FALSE They will get rooted in your mind and grow to the point of obsession and you will act on those fantasies.
- You can't truly control your emotions, because that is just how you are. FALSE Your emotions serve a purpose, but you must learn to control them and not let them control you. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not a gift of the Spirit, but a fruit. Fruit must be nurtured and cultivated to mature and be beneficial. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5:19-25)
Galatians says it all right there! One step at a time, stepping into a fruitful Kingdom life! With the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can mature as citizens of the Kingdom. We don't have to be tossed around by our emotions. That can be exhausting and bring us so much grief and heartache.
Hold every thought captive. Then decide if it should be part of who you are or if it should be cast out of your mind. Your mind is not the world's dumping ground!
All scriptures NLT unless noted.
Be a Kingdom light shining in the darkness,
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