It’s been a battle royale lately. At times my thought life goes to vile and terrible places, worse than usual.
I was reading comments on a video the other day and saw a woman struggling with the same. Two others chimed in that they were having similar issues. When that happens it makes me wonder if this is just an attack from the enemy in these wild times.
But how to overcome?
Willpower works for only a short bit then falters. Rebuking and praying does indeed work but these thoughts keep coming back.
And then I read a little devotional that had these two Scriptures:
Eph 4:8 “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (KJV)
2 Cor 10:5 “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
What does it mean he led “captivity captive” and how does that apply to us?
I’ve read that Scripture countless times, “captivity captive,” but for once I actually stopped and pondered it. There are many things that can take a person captive–death, prison, sin. To take something captive is to take it, subdue it and render it powerless. That’s what these things do. So to take captivity something that is captive, it is to take captive the very thing that wants to take us captive.
It reminds me of something that snipers do. When a sniper graduates, at least in the US, they are given a piece of ammo around their neck which they call a “HOG’s (Hunter of Gunmen) tooth.” It says that they are an official sniper. But to get a REAL “Hog’s tooth” is a whole different matter.
A designated “real” HOG’s tooth is when an actual sniper is hunting them. Basically their enemy combatant has a bullet designated for them. So it’s not just avoiding getting shot by the enemy sniper, but actually shooting the sniper that has a bullet intended for you. After a sniper shoots the enemy sniper aimed at him, then he goes and removed the “HOG’s tooth” or the ammo that was intended for him. This then is a “Real HOG’s Tooth.”
This is taking captivity captive in a way. Jesus did this with his death and resurrection.
Death and Hades were meant to take captive, kill and eternally punish man for sin. But with the death of Jesus, he took “captivity captive,” as in he conquered death and hell and now it is under his power.
So how does this apply to an average person longing for righteousness yet struggling with a thought life that is unusually out of control? It is in essence, “taking captivity captive” or “taking every thought captive to make it obedience to Jesus Christ.”
Those thoughts? They are captivating. They are also enslaving and ensnaring. Fighting them seems almost futile.
So instead of fighting, I chose to see God in those situations in my mind. Not in imaginary ways but in very real ways He rescued me in the past from precarious situations. That he intervened in those situations for my benefit. It became such that in those thoughts that were spinning wildly out of control, I could see God’s hand in those original situations and can praise God for his deliverance.
The thoughts of mind then became the place of praise and worship. Thankfulness of God’s intervention, redemption and care. I no longer am resisting the thoughts, but finding the place to praise God within the actual reality and not the wild spin off.
It’s taking every thought “captive,” and better yet, taking “captivity captive.” Not exhausted from running from thoughts but finding the reality of God within the original versions and praising Him for his kindness and goodness of deliverance.
Hoping this becomes a habit.