“For though we walk in the flesh we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ-being ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete”. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
As God has done a major overhaul of my mind and my thinking over the years, this verse has been one that has come up again and again. When I first heard the phrase “take every thought captive”, I didn’t realize it was actually a quote from scripture. I just figured it was wise counsel.
I also didn’t get it.
For me, it was just one more thing I had to figure out how to do better. One more thing I definitely did not do well.
As someone with a natural propensity towards anxiety, depression, and OCD-my mind and thoughts have long been the perfect soil for the enemy to attack. I spent so many years trying desperately to “get a handle” on my thinking. I read this verse as though I should just be able to grab my thoughts and tell them what to do and where to go.
That never really worked out too well.
But like everything we try to do in our own strength, this was never intended to be something we were able to do on our own. Thank God!
I had only ever really focused on the phrase “take every thought captive”. But there is SO MUCH MORE to this scripture! We know that as believers we are not in a battle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12). But backing up to the beginning of 2 Corinthians 10:3 we are reminded that we also do not wage war using weapons of the flesh! Rather, we have “divine power to destroy strongholds…arguments, and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” THEN it says we “take captive every thought”.
What are our weapons?
Interestingly, if you look at the armor of God in Eph 6, the only weapon of offense is the Sword of the Spirit-which is the word of God.
If we are to do spiritual battle, and truly “take every thought captive”, we must use the Word!
I see this in my own life and I see it in the scriptures.
I simply cannot will myself to stop thinking a certain way. In fact, the more I try the more persistent those thoughts that are contrary to God become. However, I can replace those thoughts with truth! And that is what I’ve been commanded to do.
Jesus set the perfect example of this in Matthew 4:4. When tempted, Jesus quotes scripture to the devil! Satan knew these truths, and he knows them now. Rather than entertaining the thoughts and lies the devil would tempt Jesus with, He immediately responded with truth. And then, Matthew tells us, “the devil left him.”
We would be wise to do the same.
Taking every thought captive isn’t passive. And it isn’t something we can muster up the strength or will to do.
It will only be accomplished when we are ready and on the offense, equipped with the word of God. Then we can meet every thought, every lie, with a greater truth.