I woke up recently having had a dream that involved several people from my teenage years. I don’t even remember much about the dream, only that a guy I once dated made an appearance in it.
If I was not a Christ-follower, I could draw some pretty crazy conclusions about why someone I haven’t spoken to in at least 35 years would show up in my subconscious. A quick search on Amazon offers me the opportunity to choose from over 150 books on “interpreting dreams.” Or I could just google it, and go with Sigmund Freud’s opinion, that “the content of dreams is related to wish-fulfillment.”
Ahem. I don’t think so. (shakes head emphatically)
Actually, I know exactly why this happened, and it had no hidden meaning. Todd and I watched a (silly) Hallmark movie before we went to bed. The storyline included a girl who was jealous of her husband’s old high school girlfriend, whom he had (stupidly…what was he thinking?) hired as his secretary. Like all Hallmark movies, there was a happy ending and the conflict was resolved by the time the credits rolled across the screen. But the storyline showed up later in my sleepy brain. (And for the record, I already have my happy ending, in case you were wondering.)
Has this ever happened to you? What do you do with thoughts, or dreams, or random ideas that pop into your head? Do we embrace those thoughts and imbue them with significant meaning?
I can tell you what scripture says to do with them: TAKE THEM CAPTIVE.
2 Corinthians 10:5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Notice that Paul says “every” thought – not just “conscious” thoughts. We are responsible to capture every thought that comes into our mind, whether our own deliberate contemplation, or those random (fiery darts) the enemy throws at us, and even the subconscious, as it weaves its way into our consciousness.
How do we capture our thoughts?
To take captive means to subjugate, or bring under control. It means we do not let our minds go where they naturally go in our flesh, but allow the Spirit of God in us to “rein them in.” Things not worth thinking about are set aside and replaced with what is true and right, and what honors God. We hold our minds accountable to be obedient to Christ, just as we do our actions.
What determines if a thought is good, and can be freely pondered, or if it needs to be held captive?
Paul is very clear here: He says to destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.
If what I am thinking sets itself against what God has made clear in scripture, it is to be taken captive.
Speculation means a reasoning, a contemplation of actions; it’s translated “imaginations” in the KJV. It’s what happens when we allow our minds to freely roam into possible scenarios that we might wish to act upon. Now this could be a good thing. The mind is powerful, and God gave us great intellect and creativity. What wonderful things have been invented because someone took the time to imagine a better way, create a more effective solution, or ponder how to solve a problem in a new way!
But the mind can also take us down destructive paths that we must not go as obedient children of Christ. Our flesh is still unredeemed, and the “self” in us is alive and well. And we are quite capable of deceiving ourselves with bad theology, such as “God wants me to be happy” or “I’m not hurting anyone.”
We must know this…not everything that comes into your head is necessarily from God. You may be a sold-out, passionate, obedient Christ-follower, and I pray you are. I pray I am! But we are still in a spiritual war, and we have an enemy who is quite capable of influencing our thoughts for his own evil purposes. It may be obvious, as when something pops into your head that you clearly recognize as wrong. Or it may be more subtle, as in a well-meaning friend’s (wrong) advice, or the influence of the worldly culture we all live in every day.
If we are going to walk in The Way of the Word (as this name of this blog infers), we must know our enemy, and be prepared to war with the divine weapons that God has given us, the Word and His Spirit. And we must be willing to take every thought captive.
What are you thinking today?
Do you need to arrest your thought life?