Taking Thoughts Captive
We are responsible for our lives. Not only our physical lives but was is going on in the inside of us. So ask yourself, what is going on inside? Take a look below at the differences between God's thoughts (fruit of the spirit) and the devil's thoughts (fear faith) and you decide what is dwelling within your heart and mind. This is to help you SEE so you can get free. That's why you are on this website. So let's get to work!
This is not to bring you under guilt or condemnation, but to bring things out into the light. The sin loses it's power when it is brought out into the light. I like what Pastor Henry says, "choking the chicken." So this is a good thing when you see yucky stuff. The Holy Spirit living inside you sees the junk and uses conviction to cause you to deal with it. However, if you don't know what is happening, you could run into fear. But the truth is, you have to see what is inside you so you can be purged. However, there is a caution. If you are only dwelling on every thought, you could lose your peace. There has to be a balance because as you take every thought captive, don't just cast it out alone, but replace it with God's thoughts. Begin to praise Him for what just took place. Spend some time with Him at that moment. That way you will be equipping yourself for life! I talked in an earlier session about God's love that casts out all fear and torment. Don't you think these thoughts are tormenting? So not only do you recognize it as an evil thought, confess it to God, but also begin receiving more of His love at that very moment! That is how we are supposed to live each day. I encourage you to begin doing what I'm teaching in this session.
So what forms our thoughts? I heard it said that we don't even come up with an original thought. We actually say, "A thought occurred to me." So the thought comes from someplace else. Our thoughts come from three sources - God, our self and the devil. I have found in most cases that our thoughts and the devil's thoughts are almost one, because when anyone seeks ministry, it's because their thoughts have been agreeing with the enemy. But don't let that condemn you, be glad that you finally see the difference, now God can really begin working in your life.
When God came to Adam and Eve and they ran from him and hid because they were naked. God asked them, "Who told you, you were naked?" They had a thought that came to them. A creature told them they were naked and made them ashamed. You have the power to resist the enemy, not just from others, but from your own thinking. Start to be a good soldier today.
So how do we recognize when we are thinking God's thoughts or the devil's thoughts? You probably already know that answer, one brings torment the other brings peace. But I found that many ignore what God is saying and cleaves to what the devil says because it's easier. No, it's not easier. It's easier to be free! The enemy is lying to you in your "thinking" when you think this. Remember, pay attention to your thoughts.
Let me ask you a question. If you had small children who were watching TV, would you censor the shows? Of course you would. If we showed our thoughts on TV, would our kids be able to watch? We need to take responsibility for our thoughts today, and stop being used as a puppet by the enemy. If resenting him long enough, he will go away. Be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you don't faint. If you feel like fainting, go to God for His strength! We can't do this alone - we need His power to do this.
Matthew 18:12 Jesus asked, "What think ye?"
So, what are you thinking? Philippians 4:8 breaks the thought process down for us (as shown in the chart above.) So anything that we think that does not line up with this passage, are the devil's thoughts (or our own stinkin' thinkin'). Anything, even thoughts, that is not full of faith, is sin (Romans 14:23).
I Corinthians 13:5 says to not think any evil. This chapter, the love chapter, really goes into detail what we are to think on.
Why is thinking so important? Because what we "think" comes out of our mouth. And when it comes out of our mouth, that's when sin is conceived. The Bible says that what we think in our heart, so are we. (Proverbs 23:7) James 1:13 -15 says that temptation comes first, and it's when we act upon it that it becomes sin. Just because you think a weird or bad thought doesn't mean you've sinned. You are heading for sin IF you dwell on that thought long enough. Remember to take every thought captive that does not reflect the nature and character of God and tell it to go.
Our thinking has been the culprit!
Simply put: Positive thoughts are of God, Negative thoughts are of the devil. Even if the thought you are thinking may be true in nature, perhaps someone did do you wrong, but we are to still "think" good thoughts all the time. Like the saying goes, "If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all."
It has been apparent in ministry that everyone (100%) has thought problems.
If we had the "mind of Christ" we wouldn't be thinking any of the negative thoughts. (I Cor. 2:16). This passage says we "have" the mind of Christ. So we as believers, have what we need to "have the mind of Christ" real in our lives.
Let's look at the scripture in the same passage, Phil 4:4-7: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men, The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
The whole process of our sanctification is to have the mind of Christ. Having this one-mind (Phil 4:2) results in peace. If there were no turmoil, worry, confusion, jealousy going on in our thinking, wouldn't we be at peace? Of course we would.
So how do we get our minds cleaned?
When we know that it is the sin in us, and not us, we can stop being so angry and unhappy with ourselves. Now I can love myself better because I've separated myself from the sin in me. I still hate the sin, but I don't hate me! So many have made themselves ONE with the sin! You bought the lie if you think you are an angry person! The anger is the sin in you, because truthfully, you don't want to be an angry person, you may have even tried not being an angry person, yet it just comes out! It's time to go to work and ask God to help purge your heart of the anger that is within, and identify it in detail.
I was a very angry person, I would fly off the handle at the drop of a hat. I even drove with anger and tailgated if someone cut ahead of me. And believe me, that was all the time. I drove over an hour one way to work for 17 years! By the time I left that job, I was no longer angry. During those 17 years the Lord used that commute to deal with my heart. At the same time I was learning to forgive others and myself, they have a lot to do with each other. Then to top it off, I realized my father was angry. So I confessed his sin of anger to God and he purged me from it! (Talked more about in a later session.) Things were changing in me from every direction so by the time I ended that long commute, I was driving peaceful. I would forgive those who pulled out in front of me, I didn't feel that "rage" come up from within any longer because it was gone! If someone pulled out in front of me, or cut close to me in traffic, I felt nothing. I was in complete peace, how awesome is that? But again, it was a process because I had such deep rooted anger. And by the way, anger is a root of fear. And if you know anything about my story, that was my main problem. So as I was being set free from fear, anger was leaving too.
Pay attention to your thoughts and cast down (out) any that are not God's thoughts. Even if the thought is true - if it's not a good thought, you are not to dwell on it at all. If you get a thought, take it to the Lord, deal with it at that moment of inception and you will stay in peace. And since those thoughts came from someplace within us, we need to go to God and ask Him what is in us. There was a reason that thought came up in the first place, perhaps God is wanting to bring your attention to something within that He wants out! It's not time to go into condemnation and fear or run from it or ignore it. It's time to get excited because God is doing a work. Remember, things have to manifest in you before they can be removed from you. Reminds me of a story I use in ministry called "The shrapnel." My husband was in vietnam and bombs blew up all around him sending pieces of metal his way. Many of those pieces penetrated his body, so when he returned back to the U.S. he still had that shrapnel in him. One by one they all began protruding out of his skin. They would begin festering, hurting, reminding him of how it got there in the first place. It wasn't a pretty sight and for years suffered PTSD. However, when the metal finally worked it's way out, and sometimes had to be surgically removed, the sore was healed. That's how God purges our sins - the way it went in is the same way it will come out! But once it's out, it's OUT! And if you suffer PTSD, be sure to go through the teachings on "Trauma."
The Bottom Line:
I want to add that once we commune with God, fellowship with Him, and learn of Him, we begin to think like Him. The more we do this, the less we have to "fight" with our thoughts! Our heart changes, and when our heart changes and is filled with love, compassion, peace and joy, that is what we begin to think about. It's from the heart where evil thoughts come - the heart feeds the mind. Sometimes the enemy does put a thought in our mind that is wild and weird, and we really don't know where it could have come from. But even in those times, I would go to God and ask if there was anything in you that caused that thought to stick. I personally found that I either watched something on TV, or heard something negative, or it was actually something God was dealing with in my heart that causes these thoughts to come. I encourage you to be thankful when things come into your mind because it gives you opportunity to exercise your faith to deal with it. Go to God and confess any wrong thoughts to Him, ask Him to cleanse your heart and mind from that thought and anything that is rooted in it that could be in your heart. God looks at the heart of man, He doesn't look at our minds. Why? Because from our hearts flow the issues of life. So whatever is in our heart, that is how we will act. After you settle things with God, then bask in His love and forgiveness. Get back into the center of His love, and all fear (and ugly thoughts) vanish. That truly says it all. "Perfect love casts out all fear and torment." Where do these get cast out of? Our hearts and minds.
Some people believe that they can't have anything evil in them. Boy, this is a whole other teaching, because if God's love casts out fear, then it is obviously it's inside us?? There are so many passages that back this up. Romans 7, Mark 7 - both accounts talking about evil coming from the heart of man. In Romans, Paul is talking and in Mark, Jesus is talking. Run a reference yourself on "heart" and "evil." There is a passage that comes to me that talks about an unbelievingly heart is an evil heart. Hmm...
What Was I Thinking? Book
For more on this topic, pick up my book called "What Was I Thinking?" It's helped countless thousands find healing and freedom in their lives. We address medical and biblical truths about our thoughts because we need to learn how they work and what we can do about it. Our thoughts aren't to work against us, but for us. Get your copy today at our bookstore.
A Prayer For You From Linda:
"Father, I come before you with my brother/sister in the Lord. I know from experience that our thoughts need to be renewed and conformed to your thoughts. Help my brother/sister to identify every thought to decide if they are your thoughts or not. Help them to get more of your thoughts in them through Bible reading and fellowship with You. Help them to recognize when the enemy is thinking a thought through them so they can tell it to "GO." Help them to know that they have this authority to cast things out! I pray courage and fearlessness over their lives. I pray they take back their thoughts, and get rid of anything that is not of you. It may be a bit overwhelming for some at this point because of all the negative thoughts they have. But let them know that by exercising this teaching, it won't take long for the thoughts to become less and less destructive leaving only your thoughts. Let them find comfort knowing that every person reading this is in the same boat, otherwise they wouldn't be reading this. They are not alone, and even the most polished preacher has to take every thought captive, if they know to do so. And as thoughts come up that are not of you, help them to investigate further by asking you to help let them see what is in them that allowed that thought to come in the first place. Sometimes it could be things as jealousy, fear of evil, doubt, confusion, bitterness and unforgiveness, comparison, feelings of incompetence, etc. And help them not to think badly of themselves for having these things. Help them remember it's sin in them that has to manifest in order to be purged. Don't let them fear what they will see, but be happy they see it. Help them to cast out every imagination and high and lofty thing out of their thinking, and only dwell on whatsoever things are good! Let their heart and mind be stayed on your so that whatever comes from within, out of their mouth, will be what would come out of yours. I know this is a process, but help them to remember when they mess up, to confess their sin immediately and receive forgiveness immediately and go on with their lives. We only stay in sin because we haven't received forgiveness. Bless my friend now Lord, and let them experience peace within their heart and mind. In Jesus name, Amen."