Last week, I noticed I was feeling anxious. I’d been running the budget numbers again, trying to do accurate projections for what would happen when. We’re trying to sort out what we should do with our house, and when/if we should list it.
Normal things to think through in a time of transition. But I wasn’t just thinking, I wasn’t just running numbers; I was anxious.
We Americans are an anxious people. Medicines, counselors, self-help books, therapy sessions, and more exist in an attempt to counteract this problem. But let’s not kid ourselves: this is no new problem. The Israelites and the early Church were just as liable to anxiety as we are:
“Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong, fear not! Behold your God will come with a vengeance… He will come and save you.” ~Isaiah 35:4
“Do not be anxious about your life. …Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” ~Matthew 6:25
“The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” ~Luke 10:41
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6
As I repeatedly turned the situation over in my mind, churning like fast-flowing rapids, I heard God’s Word: “Take each thought captive in obedience to Christ.” One word stood out.
In my mind, I could see and hear Jack Bauer yelling, “WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?” to a captive he was questioning.
“Take every thought captive.”
Our minds are so easily taken captive by anxiety, gossip, lust, greed, rage, criticism, bitterness, envy.
But we can begin taking our thoughts captive in every moment.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TAKE THOUGHTS CAPTIVE?
When I was thinking about this issue of captivity, an image came into my mind of Jack Bauer, screaming at the top of his lungs, “WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?” He was questioning the captive, rather than the other way around.
Which happens in your mind?
- Do your thoughts question YOU, telling YOU what to think about, stew over, and focus on?
- Or are you taking your thoughts captive, purposefully stewarding your own mind, THINKING CAREFULLY?
Imagine if we, like Jack Bauer, began proverbially grabbing our thoughts by the collar, and with a good shake, asking, “WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?”
By examining my recent budget & planning anxiety, it becomes very clear who my thoughts were working for:
- I was not at rest, trusting in Christ.
- Instead of meditating on and KNOWING that “my God will supply every need through His glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” my heart was meditating on fear, turning over all of the “what if”s that have not even occurred.
- It was as if my brain was searching under the couch cushions of life for things to worry about, rather than setting my mind on Christ & His utter dependability in every moment of my life.
- Ultimately, I was believing that my brain– my figuring things over and over again, and my anxiousness over the situation– would bring about a better result than careful planning & restfully trusting in God.
I WAS TRUSTING IN ME, RATHER THAN IN GOD.
No wonder I was anxious!
So if I take that same thought process CAPTIVE “in obedience to Christ,” what does that mean my thoughts should look like:
- My natural inclination, urging me to run the numbers even though I’ve run them before & now it’s past bedtime: “Hurry, hurry, hurry. It has to be done now. Run the numbers again. Find out NOW if you can make x scenario work.”
- Me, realizing what’s happening, choosing to take my thoughts captive: “No. God is sovereign over our times. It is 1am and absolutely time for bed. Trust Him with this and rest. Remember- ‘You keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.’ and ‘Cast your burdens on the Lord, for He cares for you.’ Stop churning! God is in control of this too.”
What about you? What issues are holding you hostage, with you as the captive, rather than the other way around?
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion
raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
~2 Corinthians 10:5
What thoughts in your life do you need to grab by the collar and give a good shake?
What concerns in your mind need to be answered with the truth of Scripture, rather than being driven by the flesh?
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