6 Steps to Take Every Thought Captive

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When I made the commitment to follow Jesus, I immediately had a hunger to follow Him completely. I ended up purchasing a study Bible and started reading through it.

I started realizing that I had a lot to change in my life. Before I knew Jesus, I was completely immersed in the world.

Over time, the Holy Spirit started working to transform my mind from a worldly perspective to a Biblical perspective.

This brought on a lot of emotion and struggles. One of my biggest struggles was to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ.

Since this was such a big struggle for me, I decided to focus this post on that exact topic… Take Every Thought Captive.

My hope is that I can help you understand how important it is to protect your mind so you can continue walking a straight path with Christ.

Hold Thoughts Captive

What Does it Mean to Take Captive Every Thought?

The Bible tells us that we are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

“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 10:5 NIV

That means when a thought comes to your mind, you need to make sure it lines up with the knowledge of God.

How to Take Every Thought Captive

This may sound like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The Bible tells us that we can do all things through Christ because He strengthens us (Phil 4:13). His promises are true.

If you truly believe that God can help you do anything then you can do this.  It takes a bit of discipline but once you get the hang of it, it will happen more naturally.

I’m going to break this down in steps to make it easier.  Please keep in mind that I’m starting from scratch. You may be able to bypass a few of these steps if you are already doing them.

1. Read Your Bible

If you are going to take every thought captive, you need to be able to recognize the Truth from a lie.  The only absolute Truth is the Bible

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Coming from a worldly view has shown me that the world is the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches.  We need to commit to a solid foundation in order to sort through our thoughts properly.

The only solid foundation is the Bible. Everything else is a rocky foundation.  Once you make the commitment to make the Bible your only authority, then you will be able to bring every thought captive.

Reading your Bible and gaining wisdom from the Bible takes time.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a lot of Biblical knowledge yet. It will come.

The good news is if you are born again, the Holy Spirit will work within you so you can take every thought captive right away.

2. Pray 

Learning how to discipline your mind is a big job. Inviting the Lord to help you recognize and keep you accountable for this is a must.

Our flesh is weak and Jesus came to save us from ourselves.  God knew we couldn’t do it on our own so He sent Jesus to die for our sins.

The Bible tells us to ask and we will receive in Matthew 7:7: 

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

If we don’t ask, then we will be operating on our own strength and that will always fail us.

Take the time to pray and surrender this battle to the Lord.  He will give you the knowledge you need to take every thought captive.

3. Get in Tune with Your Thoughts

You can only bring every thought captive if you are in tune with your thoughts.  When I first started tuning into my thoughts, I couldn’t believe how many thoughts I had every day.

There had to be thousands of them.  Some of them were thoughts I didn’t want to think about.  Some of them were ideas that came out of nowhere.

I was amazed at how my mind was running on its own all day.  The scary thing is, I would “think” about all the thoughts that came in. As a result, my emotions responded and my mood would change constantly just because of those thoughts.

This is exactly why the Bible says to take every thought captive.  Thoughts basically run our lives and they can run us in the wrong direction.

God wants us to have determined minds. We are to set our minds on things above and not on this earth.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2 NKJV

Since we are living in the world, we are subject to sin. Sinful thoughts and ideas will make their way in.

Start paying attention to the thoughts coming into your mind. You will be amazed at the garbage that makes its way in.

Take thoughts captive

4. Capture Your Thoughts

Now that you are aware of the thoughts that come into your mind. STOP those thoughts before you think about them.

One thing you need to understand is just because a thought comes into your mind doesn’t mean you are guilty of that thought. Thoughts will come out of your control but what you do with those thoughts will determine if you are guilty.

If we don’t capture our thoughts and we allow ourselves to act on them, we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble.  Having a mind like Christ means we need to think like Him.

I can tell you that most of the thoughts that come to my mind are not in line with the Bible. Sometimes the thoughts I think are scary. Thankfully, I can ask the Lord to protect my mind and I trust that He will.

God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear. Fear is a liar and it will try to make you doubt God. Don’t believe it.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim. 1:7 ESV

5. Line Up Your Thoughts Against the Knowledge of God

Once you take the thought captive, you need to line it up against the knowledge of God. This is the ultimate test to see if you should accept that thought or reject it.

Philippians 4:8 NKJV says:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Now take that thought and ask yourself if it passes all the things that Phillippians 4:8 mentions. If it doesn’t,  you need to take that thought captive and reject it.

I realize that sometimes this is easier said than done.  I usually replace that thought with something good to get it off my mind. If it’s a struggle to reject, pray, and ask the Lord to remove it from your mind.

Sometimes I find myself worrying about not getting rid of the thought (I know this sounds silly) but I have to remember that once I surrender it to the Lord, He is faithful to protect me and my mind.

As you get better at controlling your thoughts, this process will become easier.  The Lord will guide you and help you take every thought captive and reject them.

6. Make Your Thoughts Obedient to Christ

If you have a thought that comes into your mind and doesn’t pass the Philippians 4:8 test, you may still be able to make it obedient to Christ.

You may be able to change that thought and make it honorable and pleasing to the Lord. This is where reading your Bible comes in. If you don’t read your Bible, you won’t know God’s Word.

If you don’t know God’s Word, you won’t know how to make that thought obedient to Christ.  Part of taking every thought captive is to be a student of the Bible.

One important thing to remember is our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

We have the ability to feel convicted and corrected because the Holy Spirit lives within us. This is very helpful when it comes to taking captive every thought and making them obedient to Christ.

The hard part is that we have free will and we want to go on our own path at times. Keep your mind on Christ and He will help you.

Take Every Thought Captive Scriptures

There are multiple Bible verses about our mind and protecting it. The battles we face are not between flesh and blood, they are against the spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12).

Hopefully, these scriptures will help you understand how important it is to take every thought captive.  Keep your eyes on Him. These Bible verses are from the KJV.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4

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

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Are you Taking Every Thought Captive?

These steps have helped me take every thought captive. The key is to be intentional about taking your thoughts captive. This ecourse can help you get started.

Are you protecting your mind and analyzing every thought?

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  1. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. This verse has been so important to me, and I am always thankful that God wants to draw us closer to his truth all the time. Thank you for your teaching on taking every thought captive. Thoughts should not be able to determine our mood, and yet too often they do.

    1. SO true! Thanks, for stopping by!