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Episode 39 // Take your thoughts captive to Christ.. but how?! Let’s build our intimacy with God and strengthen our own mental health by practicing 4 key steps to controlling our thought life.

What are we talking about today?

One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to “take our thoughts captive to Christ.” And yes, this is in the Bible!

Our thought life not only guides our spiritual growth but it also directly impacts our mental health. 

As a counselor, a Christian, and a regular person, I know how quickly our thoughts can move us in a negative, unhelpful, or even untrue direction. But I also know what we need to do about it. So join me today to look at 4 key steps in controlling our thought life. 

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Listen to Episode 39:

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Snag your resources here!

First, grab a copy of my FREE spiritual growth resource: The Holy Habits 45-Day Bible & Prayer Challenge

If you sometimes feel stuck when you’re trying to read the Bible or talk to God, this free resource will help. Grow closer to God as you develop holy habits for daily time in the Bible and in prayer.

If today’s topic is meaningful for you, you’ll also want to check out these earlier episodes:

  • Episode 3 // What does it mean to be a Christian? The 3 things needed to love God well, and 3 impacts on your daily life.
  • Episode 4 // Want to boost your spiritual growth? Check out these five practical strategies for growing closer to God. 
  • Episode 11 // Two Truths and a Lie… Are your thoughts grounded in truth? Here are 2 truths that we should be thinking about and 1 lie that we sometimes believe instead.

[This post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.] 

Today's Episode Highlights

If you’ve been in Christian circles for very long, you’ve probably heard people talk about “taking their thoughts captive to Christ.” 

It is definitely true that our thought life has a huge impact on our mental health, our relationships, and our intimacy with the Lord… and this saying is definitely Biblical. 

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We want to take our thoughts captive… but how do we do it?

Step 1: Know Christ.

Deepen your knowledge of Jesus, so that you can better and better understand who He is.

How will we know what it means to be obedient to him (from the Scripture) if we don’t know him very well? We want to know how He thinks, how He prioritizes, what his character is like. We need his wisdom. 

Spiritual disciplines help here. We must be able to recognize truth. 

You can grab my free Holy Habits: 45-Day Bible & Prayer Challenge to help you get started!

  1.  

Step 2: Recognize truth and lies.

We are in the world, but we are called to live and think differently from the world, from our culture. (Go back to 2 Corinthians 10.)

We cannot take our thoughts captive to Christ if we don’t even realize that they aren’t.

How do we do this? Be careful about what media you consume – Tik Tok, television, music, movies, news.

Compare every thought against Scripture to determine: is it true?

Step 3: Stay "stop" to unholy thoughts.

When you notice a thought popping up that is NOT healthy and holy (i.e. Christ-like), stop that thought in its tracks.

Tell yourself (out loud if you must) that this is not true.

Ask questions to yourself like “where have I heard this before? why am I thinking this? why do I believe this? is there evidence that this thought is true?” Evaluate the thought. Especially if a thought pops up often, take some time to write down the thought and really evaluate it. 

Step 4: Replace lies with truth.

Once you have said “stop” to the thought, identify a replacement thought that IS true, helpful, and holy. 

It’s okay to tell yourself: “I feel like X but I know that Y is true.”

This is really helpful if you can get specific with your replacement thought. If you find yourself regularly thinking “I’m stupid” then you need a replacement thought that might sound like “I am capable and hardworking.”

An example of this process

As an example, let’s consider our thoughts about our body image. 

As women, we’ve all had thoughts about our body. We’ve all had some negative thoughts about our body. We love our hair but hate our waistline. We show off our legs and hide our arms. 

Whatever your thoughts are about your body… we always want to consider: are these thoughts obedient to Christ?

Sometimes, the thoughts are accurate, but they are not healthy or holy. They do not point us in a godly direction. For example: it might be true that I am 10 pounds overweight, but that does not mean I am unworthy, unbeautiful, or anything of the sort! I need to consider the FULL thought process, and take the full thought captive to Christ. 

Here is an example of a replacement thought for someone struggling with negative thoughts about their body image:

    • God created me. He gave me this body. He loves this body. 

Yes, it might be true that the Lord is convicting you about living a healthier lifestyle. Pray through that. But it is certainly NOT true that the Lord thinks you are ugly or unworthy because of your appearance. 

You will find absolutely no Scriptures that tell you that!

And so when those thoughts pop up, say STOP. Replace them. Find the truth, and remind yourself of that truth. 

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A reminder of the Disclaimers & Disclosures Policy: I am an affiliate with many of the resources I recommend, which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my provided links. I never recommend products I don’t love! Also, I am a licensed therapist but this podcast is not therapy. It is not professional or personal advice to your specific situation. Get info about professional counseling here.