We break down every thought and proud thing that puts itself up against the wisdom of God. We take hold of every thought and make it obey Christ. II Corinthians 10:5
We are surrounded every day with situations which are challenging. Even our own thoughts often tend to work against us at times. We have messages, often triggered by events around us- comments from other people, the seemingly constant parade of negative news stories, etc.- which can really put our minds into a place of tension and despair.
The verse from II Corinthians reminds us that we need to take hold of our thoughts, and conform them to the worldview which we hold to be life changing and life-saving.
Sometimes we get caught up in an anxiety response, an emotional and physiological reaction that is immediate. That physical/emotional response comes quickly, and the cognitive (executive part of our brain) weighs in later. That is really how we are wired in our fight/flight response system, and it often serves us very well. It can protect us from danger, but it can run away with us if we don’t use the executive part of our brain to regulate when the initial trigger is gone.
The writer Paul suggests that we become aware of our thoughts, own them, then take charge of them, and not let them take charge of us. Speak truth to the thoughts that tell us something else. Our anxieties and insecurities can give us wrong messages which must be tested in the light of truth. To do that, we must take charge of the input in our minds.
The truth does set us free, we just need to slow down the emotions of the moment and put our cognitive, our “executive brain”, in charge. This takes discipline and patience, things which are in shorter supply when we have few margins in our life.
So when we feel stressed, angry, fearful- whatever negative emotion comes up, we need to take the thoughts captive. We need to ask, “Is this truthful?” “Is this loving?’ Is this helpful?” That way we can slow things down and respond in ways that are honoring to ourselves and others.
Prayer: Lord give us the patience and discipline to take our thoughts captive and conform them to your truth, Amen.