Take your thoughts captive…but how?

Have you ever asked the question, “Lord, why is this happening to me?” “Why does it have to be this way?” “Have you forgotten about me?” “God where are you?” “Do you even care?”

Our thoughts can carry us off in a whirlwind. We will quickly sink into our titanic thought life if we are not careful. Proverbs 23:7, “After all, as a man thinks, so is he.”

But Scripture tells us to act differently when these crazy thoughts pop into our head: we need to nip them in the bud. Our thoughts can carry us around like a carnival ride. Round and round we go. The vicious cycle can be debilitating and exhausting. If we are not cautious, our thoughts can conjure up many unhealthy thoughts and spiral like a whirlwind down an unhealthy path. In addition, our thoughts can become idolatrous if they are captivating our attention away from God.

How then should we respond?

 Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the (what?) renewing of your mind, that you may be able to prove what is that good, and perfect and acceptable will of God.”

The word conformed (Strong’s #4964) means “to fashion alike, conform to the same pattern.” This is referring to the external condition or outward appearance of something. We are not to be fashioned together according to the likeness of this world. Simply put, we are not to think like this world. The best way to combat an unhealthy thought life is to replace it with a truth from Scripture. There are times when I have to verbally tell myself to “STOP” thinking a certain thought. If I want to conquer the crazy cycle, I must conscientiously determine to set my mind on things above.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

The word transformed  (Strong’s #3339) means “to transform (literally or figuratively, metamorphose).” This is referring to an inward condition, a change of our nature. Like a caterpillar is metamorphosed into a butterfly, so too we are transformed into new creatures when we come to Jesus Christ for salvation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). We are also to be changed, transformed, into the likeness of Christ in our day to day walk with Him. When my thoughts travel down a debilitating cycle or begin reading between the lines of a situation, my best reaction is to stop, pause and refocus.

And finally, error on the side of grace. The reason we are told “the greatest of these is love” in 1 Corinthians 13:13 is because it redirects our attention to Christ. When we put our sin into the forefront, our thoughts become focused on the cross and the tremendous grace we have been afforded. Only then can we begin to overflow with grace towards others. What fills us up begins to overflow.