We take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Have you ever had one thought that spiraled into out-of-control negative emotions?
You are driving down a road in the morning and you think, “My car needs new tires.” That’s the thought – a need for tires that will cost money.
Your next action is crucial to a good day or one plagued by frustration.
Option One: “I’m struggling to pay the house payment, and I want to go on vacation. I thought I would not have to worry about money at my age. Why didn’t I go into another career? I wish my husband would work more hours. My kid wants a new iPhone. I hated the sermon last week in church; my needs aren’t being met there. I hate my life.”
One thought of worn tires, and now you are in a funk that could last for days.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians to take these thoughts captive.
Option Two: Yes, I need new tires, but it says in Philippians 4:19, “God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.” Considering all that is going on around the world, I’m blessed to have a job, a husband who works hard, and a child who has good friends.
Awareness is critical. If you understand, at the beginning of negativity, take the thought captive and replace it with thanksgiving. The downward cycle stops. A negative thought allowed to roam in your mind one day makes it easier for downward spirals the next day.
Brain science is now proving that your brain hard-wires its circuits to accommodate your thoughts. Think good thoughts and your brain synapses itself to a praise response, not to negative thoughts.
One of my favorite books on defeating anxiety is Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer. He writes of the need for self-awareness (or taking thoughts captive).
To hack our brains and break the anxiety cycle, we must become aware of two things: that we are getting anxious and/or panicking and what results from anxiety/panicking.
You must decide how to deal with your thoughts as one thought can become either a reason to sing praises or curse God. Again, your decision.
James 1:2 teaches a captive-thought technique when it says: Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials…
Consider – you develop the habit of thinking joy.
Philippians 4:4 also gives advice for thought control: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
Following Jesus, by rejoicing in Him, you get supernatural help in both controlling day-to-day thoughts or breaking long-term captive thought cycles.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery falling back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
First, ask God to help you sense that first negative thought. Awareness is crucial. Second, say to the thought, “Thought, you are not from my Father; I rebuke you in the name of Jesus.”