Every time I looked at it, I felt defeat wash over me. An unfortunate accident with a crossbow, just the day before, left me unable to use my left hand. I couldn’t make dinner for my family, I couldn’t take my daughter to the barn to ride her pony, I couldn’t wash dishes, I couldn’t tie my own shoes, and I couldn’t even completely undress to get into the shower without the help of my husband. As the day wore on, the list of things beginning with the words, “I can’t” continued to grow. By the end of the day, unable to do even the simplest things for myself or my family, I told myself I was defeated. There was no way that I was going to fully recover from this.
Maybe you’ve experienced a day like this as well. A day that is filled with hard things that leaves you feeling completely frustrated and defeated. When we face those kind of days, it’s important to shift our perspective and our response to those hard things, by intentionally taking our thoughts captive.
Far too often, we allow the negative feelings that rise up in the midst of difficult circumstances be the driving force behind how we respond in situations and how we respond with others. We give the emotions that come along with extra stress or changing hormones more power than they deserve and allow them to dictate how we respond. Often, if you’re like me, it’s my family that gets the brunt of my negative responses. I’m impatient, I yell, I give more disapproving looks than are deserved, I say things I don’t mean.
Our thoughts determine our emotions. Our emotions determine the decisions we make. Those decisions we make determine how we behave, and how we behave directly impacts our relationships with others. Simply put, negative thoughts can lead to poor responses on our part. That is why it is so important to take our thoughts captive. Proverbs warns us:
“Guard your heart (mind) above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
To guard our minds, we need to take every thought that enters our minds and measure it against the truth found in God’s Word. God has given us the authority and the power to do this. For every thought that enters our mind, God can help us discern whether it is truth or a lie.
“Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (CEB)
If the thoughts you’re having don’t match up with what God says, then be honest and call them out for what they are. They’re lies. Lies that have no place taking up residence within your mind.
That’s what happened the day after my accident. I let the lie that I was defeated settle into my brain. But, if I take that thought of defeat and hold it up against what God’s Word says, I’m reminded that I’m never defeated. God’s Word says that He is always with me, He will fight for me, and He will give me His Peace when my worries try and overtake me.
“Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.”
Psalm 34:19 (MSG)
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NLT)
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:14 (NLT)
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (VOICE)
We need to be taking every thought that enters our mind captive and holding it up to the truth we find in God’s Word. Ask yourself if this thought you have is based on what God says is true or if it’s based on a lie that Satan would have you believe.
If you’re not sure what God’s truth says, I would encourage you to start reading it. Start small. Sometimes, when I’m struggling with a particular thought or emotion, I’ll go to my friend Google and type in, “What does God say about ___________”. I then take the Scriptures generated by that search and look them up myself.
To understand His truth, we have to get into His Word. We have to. It is our best defense in the guarding of our minds. Romans tells us,
“Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to Him.”
Romans 12:2 (CEV)
As His truth, soaks into our souls, our minds are transformed, our perspective shifts, our responses change. Guard your mind. Take every thought captive. Let His truth transform you.