As the queen of the “what if?” scenarios, I can dream up farfetched and unlikely outcomes to the most benign of situations. Even though my skill of planning ahead and preparing for events can be an asset, it can also be my vulnerability. It’s one thing to think of some possible scenarios which can be addressed; it’s quite another thing to dwell on several hypothetical outcomes that are unlikely to materialize. Lately, I’ve been asking God to work me through the phrase, “take every thought captive,” found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV, to help me improve in this area.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV
Whether the problem I face is real or hypothetical, I want to face it with God and the truth He provides in the Bible. When I am discouraged, I want to encounter it with God’s hope and not my natural pessimistic tendencies. When I don’t feel capable of doing something God called me to do, I want to approach it with God’s strength and not my own. These thoughts that work against what God wants me to do, I challenge their validity by comparing them to Scripture and asking God for help. It’s the example that was set by Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11 ESV in the story of the temptation of Jesus.
Identify the thought that needs to be taken captive.
Find a verse that shows God’s truth about it.
Turn it into a prayer that is easily remembered, and pray it when you need to take that thought captive again.
For example, if I am stuck on a “what if?” scenario and have a hard time moving past it, I identify a verse that applies to the situation, such as Philippians 4:8 ESV. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I then turn that into a short phrase that I can easily remember and pray on the spot. “Lord, help me to think on what is true and not my own hypothetical situations.” Praying Scripture helps guide me towards God’s will and not my own.
I’ve listed some common issues that people deal with, and verses and short prayers that can be used with it, in a helpful worksheet called “Taking Every Thought Captive.” It is free to download. I hope you will find it encouraging. For more free downloads to encourage you in your Christian walk, visit our free downloads page.
May you face what lies ahead of you today with God’s truth and strength right beside you!