'We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.'
2 Corinth 10:5
This verse was included in my sermon on Sunday night. It was the last verse I used and it seems appropriate to make it the first this morning.
This verse speaks about controlling the mind, a concept not very popular in today's society! We can find it very difficult to control our minds and often find our minds are like runaway steam trains. The more strained we are, the more difficult we find it to concentrate on anything. The sharpest mind is the one that can focus on a given task and achieve it to its full potential. The harassed mind becomes muddled, forgetful and confused.
I'm sure, along with me, you can tick a few boxes here. So, how are we meant to achieve this almost unobtainable target? If we're realistic, this is not an easy target and one that most Christians don't achieve in a lifetime. And yet it can make a profound difference if we do.
First of all, you will never achieve it by your own efforts and mindset. You will only become tired and strained trying. We must learn to hand our minds over to God. Ask Him to fill your mind with His thoughts, in the same way He fills our hearts with His presence, and our bodies with His Spirit. We must learn to relax in Him and trust that He is able to do this. If we are right with God in our spirits this will flow into our minds.
The Bible says:
'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.' Philippians 4:8
Make a point of putting this into practice. When you find yourself thinking of something nasty, unkind, unclean or even negative, turn your thoughts to things that are pure, right and noble. We are surrounded by the beauty of nature, our work to keep us occupied, music to help us relax, friendships to enjoy. However, at the end of the day when all is done and you are alone, it's then the vital thoughts must be brought into captivity to Christ.
'From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.'
Make a point of praise, it's very good for you. When we are weary at the end of the day, in the quietness of the evening hour let your heart silently rise in praise to your God for His goodness and mercy. As you turn your mind to Him in giving thanks, He will enable you to bring those tired, weary thoughts under His authority and, without strain, you will find your mind is brought into captivity, not bondage but peace.
We may wonder at this teaching in scripture, but a healthy mind leads to a healthy Christian life. Our God is wise, He knows what is best for His children. Let us set out to achieve what He has asked of us. It will be well with our soul.