Maturity and wisdom remind us not to let our minds dwell on just anything. In fact, we’re called to cultivate thoughts that are true and noble. But this doesn’t mean we can just run from every other thought. Instead, we take them captive and bring them to Christ.
To be sure, we know the many dark and embarrassing thoughts that run through our minds daily. And many times we should let them go just as quick as they come. But often a different strategy is needed when recurring thoughts plague our souls and weigh us down. We take them captive.
Certainly, taking thoughts captive includes stewarding what we allow our minds to dwell on and eliminating those things that are not honoring to God. Here we’re capturing and only fostering the good thoughts we want to continue.
But there’s a time to capture those negative or otherwise problematic thoughts as well. Here the goal is not to eliminate or run from the thought, but rather to take hold of it to bring it to Christ. And it’s in bringing these thoughts to Christ that we allow his redeeming work to take place.
It’s often the case that weeds are mixed in with the wheat and he helps us to untangle the thoughts and restore its original goodness.
This is true, for instance, with many sexual thoughts. They’ve become distorted and need to be captured and untangled – freed to be used in the service of love rather than in our sinful pursuits. And we miss much of the goodness available when our shame and discomfort causes us to run and shut down – hoping we keep ourselves distracted enough the unpleasant thoughts will just go away.
Taking thoughts captive is not indulging. It’s bringing our focused attention to the thought as we sit in God’s presence and wait for his guidance.
In the end, there’s a time to resist and shut down intrusive thoughts, and a time to take them captive. Practice bringing your unwanted thoughts to Christ for him to show you the way forward in peace.