Placing every thought into captivity
Taken from a Rick Warren Daily Devotional – “The fruit of the Spirit begins in your thought life. The seeds must be planted in your mind: The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.”
One area that has been a topic for me lately is placing every thought into captivity with Christ. This takes place at the time a thought materializes, which is prior to the thought snowballing into further thoughts, prior to initiating an action such as an emotional response, and/or prior to the thought causing an outward action. It’s analyzing self talk, thoughts, etc. in a real-time environment, and capturing the thoughts as they happen.
This is a difficult process because for the most part, an initial thought will feed either an emotional response, an outward action, or it will snowball into further thoughts. In other words, the later stages that stem from an initial single thought are things such as: outward physical actions, an inward emotional response, further thoughts on the same topic, etc. (I know, I just said the same thing twice, haha). I think it’s a very important realization that once we are caught up in an emotion, an action, or snowballing of thoughts, it is very very difficult to be clear.
For me, the beginning stages of any thing going on within my member begins with a single point of thought. This is the thought that is placed into captivity. Once this thought is held captive, and analyzed with my beloved Helper, Christ, then I can begin to see clearly. The single thought will have a root, a motive.. it will either be: A: thought from self or B: thought from Christ. This was a difficult thing for me to do, and it still is, but I am learning and growing in grace every day.
In order to know whether it is a thought from self or a thought from Christ, we must examine closely. Within ourselves, we can do this.. We can be 3rd party watchers, hand in hand with Christ, evaluating, examining, watching the thought stir up, watching for justifications, looking for the root, the motive, and so on. For instance, I can see the self creating a biased thought. It’s what the self wants, it’s what the self desires, it’s what the self thinks is right, pride/ego get involved, worldly/society/upbringing molds get involved (I have been trained to think about self first), and so on. These are the things I must evaluate in order to correctly see if the root is from self. On the flip side, how do we know if it’s a thought rooted in Christ? From knowing Him through His Word, the Holy Bible.. From the Holy Spirit. Without knowing God through His Word, it is difficult to discern between what the self is saying inside my head and what the Holy Spirit is saying inside my head.
Unless we surrender our complete will, surrender all thoughts, all worries, all of our lives unto the Cross with Christ, the Holy Spirit cannot materialize at It’s full potential. This is not to say the Holy Spirit is not working. Of course, once we accept Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit begins to do the work within. For the Holy Spirit to materialize and accomplish a great deal with our remolding, we must surrender all and accept His Will, on earth as it is in heaven. I believe this is accomplished through placing all of ourselves into the captivity of Christ, which begins with our minds. It’s a choice we make.. This world or Him. What is a great help as well is righteous prayer, obedience, fellowship and studying His Word. It’s all encompassing in order to be able to discern correctly. Otherwise, we are evaluating with blind eyes.. the eyes of the self only… and our self will make everything seem right to us.. we’re biased.
I truly believe that the Spiritual war behind the scenes is won in the mind, and it begins with that very first thought. Once Christ is at the gates of the mind, checking things that come in and out, then the war for my soul has been won, and I can then move forward in order to fulfill His Will in my life. I’m still trying… and this is a difficult thing at times… but praise God for my Helper, Provider, Father, Corrector, Lover.. My Husband, Christ Jesus.
Husband (Ish) is a great way to evaluate things. Christ, as my Husband, knows all of my thoughts, drives, motives, roots, etc. When I start thinking about something more than Him, I begin to commit adultery. He says, as my Husband “What about me?” Who or what things am I commiting idolatry with? Do I think more about certain things more than I think about my Husband? He’s always there as my Lover, my Friend, my Brother, my Helper. My Husband should be the first thing I think about versus any thing else.
This was a lesson He taught me recently… To place Him in the forefront of my thoughts… Place Him first. If I am thinking something, I place it into captivity and think “is this a thought He would like me to have? Is He first? Is this a thought He wishes I have? Is this from Him or from self?” Then once He helps me understand the root of the thought, I either cast it out and grab a hold of Him (if it’s from self) or I continue with the thought, with Him along side me as my Guide… Walking along with me in the thought, guiding, helping, protecting.. Praise God.
The fruit of the Spirit begins in your thought life. The seeds must be planted in your mind: The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.
Forgive me Jesus for looking at other things and thinking about other things instead of putting you above all else. Thank you for these understandings so that I may grow furhter into your likeness. Please provide me and any readers the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart to receive. Please continue to help us and be our Guide. You know Lord, You see all… You are El Roi. Thank you for your grace and mercy… To walk with us sinners in order to teach and remold so that we can be just like you. Bless you, thank you. I love you too.