Take Thoughts Captive

2 Corinthians 10:5 — We 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 (NIV).

What does it mean to make every thought obey Christ, and how do we do it? First of all, you need to deal with your thoughts one at a time. (This should be especially easy for most men.) When a negative idea pops into your head, immediately search God’s word for a counter.

Take depressing thoughts captive by meditating on a joyful verse. If you’re struggling with your identity, search the Scripture to find out more about who you are in Christ. Perhaps your mind is stressed with a to-do list. Give attention to what His word says about peace and priorities.

Be proactive. The armed forces are strategic in planning and implementing their attacks on the enemy. Set yourself up for victory. Fill your mind with God’s word continually. Study it. Memorize it. Speak it. Then, when something contrary to it enters your thoughts, you’ll go on the offensive.

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Set Your Mind

Romans 8:5 — Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (NIV).

How you live is determined by where you set your mind. The New Living Translation says the difference between being dominated by the sinful nature and controlled by the Spirit is what we choose to think about. It’s no wonder why so many well-meaning people repeatedly do things they know are wrong.

To be dominated means to be governed by or subject to something or someone. In this case, if you don’t purposefully set your mind on the Holy Spirit, you will be controlled by the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:17 confirms that the flesh and the Spirit are in direct opposition.

Be intentional about setting your mind on what pleases the Spirit. If you’re not, your thoughts are automatically dictated by your environment and experiences.

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Start Over

Romans 12:2 — And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (NKJV).

The suffix -ing, as it relates to a verb, means the action of, result of, or process of. In the above verse, Paul said the transformation from worldliness to godliness is contingent on the renewing of your mind.

To renew means to start over, and renewing is the process of starting over. Simply put: To be changed into a new person requires us to start over in our minds regularly—on a daily basis.

Every day you wake up and so does your mind, but it does not wake up in a renewed state. As soon as your eyes pop open, your mind begins to race through thoughts of what went wrong yesterday to what’s on tap tomorrow to how ugly you feel today.

Start over in your mind right now. Think on God’s word before tackling today’s agenda.

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Who are You Walking With?

Proverbs 13:20Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble (NLT).

Solomon gives two foundational pieces of advice concerning our relationships in the verse above:

1. Walk with the wise.
2. Don’t associate with fools.

Going on a walk with someone implies spending meaningful time together. Heidi and I love to go on walks, and we do so frequently. We’ve walked sandy beaches, mountainous hiking trails, and the road we live on. While the subject of conversation varies almost every time, the purpose remains the same. We encourage, listen to, and learn from each other. She challenges me, and I stretch her. We build one another’s faith and dream together. Sometimes we even have to work through some differences. No matter what, we always rub off on each other in a positive way.

The same can be said of anyone you choose to walk with. I encourage you to evaluate your relationships right now. Who are you walking with? Proverbs 13:20 instructs us not to associate with fools. In other words, don’t even have a casual relationship with someone who’s going to get you in trouble.

To be sure, your life consists of both the wise and the foolish. Choose to walk with those who are going to add to your life, and don’t entertain the advice of those who are going to subtract from it. Now I’m not telling you to cut off every person you deem ignorant. Perhaps he or she needs to walk with you. Pass it on!

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No Fear

2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (NKJV).

If you are experiencing anxiety, worry, or fear of any kind, rest assured those feelings are not from God. And since He doesn’t give you fear, He will certainly take it away. In fact, God gives you three things in place of fear: power, love, and soundness of mind.

Fear creates an inferiority complex in its victims. They feel helpless, as if they will never measure up. The truth is there are some things we will face in life that are scary, and we can’t overcome them on our own. When life happens and fear threatens our peace, rather than give up and step out, we need to allow God to step in.

Receive His power today; He isn’t afraid of anything. Receive His love; it expels all fear. Allow Him to calm your thoughts. You can have His peace no matter what you’re going through.

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Forgiving Ignorance

Luke 23:34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for His clothes (NLT).

Jesus obviously understood the power of forgiveness. After being accused by the priests and tortured by the soldiers, Jesus forgave them. A lot of what He let go of was done in spite, but in the verse above, He forgave them of what they did in ignorance.

Not everyone who hurts us does so vindictively. There are probably people in your life right now that you hold a grudge against, and they are clueless. Meanwhile, they live their lives freely, and you’ve incarcerated yourself. When you choose to forgive, you’re not only releasing the offenses of others, you’re letting yourself out of captivity.

Another thing I noticed in this verse is that right after Jesus forgave them, the soldiers gambled for His clothes. What a slap in the face and another opportunity for Jesus to get offended! Not everyone is going to receive our forgiveness, but we are still to give it without expecting anything in return. Love simply does what is right, period. Choose to forgive.

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3 Things

Philippians 3:13My friends, I don’t feel I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead (CEV).

There are three things I want to point out to you from this passage:

1. No matter how far we’ve come, we have not arrived yet. There is still ground to be taken and victories to be won. Keep moving forward.

2. There are two different kinds of “stuck” people: Those who hope the past doesn’t repeat itself and others who hope it does. We have to be willing to leave behind both the good and the bad of yesterday, in order to embrace today and look forward to tomorrow.

3. Don’t be intimidated by the struggle that accompanies forging ahead. Some people never grow or go because they’re too comfortable. The effort it takes pales in comparison to the prize that awaits.

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