In part 1 of this series we learned that most all of our pain originates in our mind with its perceptions of situations, people and things that come into our life. We unpacked the idea that our thoughts cause most of the pain that we experience and that we do indeed need to do what Scripture says and take them captive. In this article we are going to explain a bit more of how to do just that.
Now that we know that much of our pain comes from our mind’s interpretation of the situations around us as negative, let's zoom in on how we can better take those thoughts captive. And the foundational principle of doing so is our second point of this series:
You Are Not Your Mind.
Although this point is not new and has been taught in many secular and spiritual books, let’s bring this truth back to Scripture where all truth originates. This truth starts with the understanding that the Creator gave us the mind to operate within our world, communicate with one another, solve problems and for a whole host of other reasons. But, since the fall of man, the mind has been so tainted with sin that, in many ways, it can become our enemy. Let me explain.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of prayer or Bible study, daydreaming about something unholy, thinking about someone who hurt you or dwelling on a negative situation in your life? Have you ever had a rogue thought that took you by surprise and you had no idea where it came from? We all have. It's like our mind has a mind of its own. Some of us are so bad at letting our mind wander that we allow it to create scenarios and fill in situational gaps by role-playing them in our thoughts. We end up mad at people for what we "think" they did in the scenario we just concocted in the fantasy land of our mind!
This role-playing is the mind's way of exalting your flesh and watering the seed that came from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You have heard the saying, “Idle hands is the devil's workshop.” I say that an active mind can be the devil's playground. The more an individual allows negative thoughts to continue, the more the devil is given the opportunity to play.
So in order to "take every thought captive" you must understand that YOU must be separate from your thoughts, as thoughts cannot take thoughts captive. There must be something higher than our thoughts and that something is the real you. It's the “you” that God created you to be by the power of Christ making you “a new man”—What you would have been before the fall, the REAL you before the carnal pride and egoistic fallen nature of man was added into the neurons of our minds.
With this in mind (pun intended), how do we actually take them captive? It's far easier than you might expect. The moment you start to feel your heart rate increase, your blood pressure rise and negative thoughts take center stage, say to yourself or out loud, "I am not my mind." Then tell the devil to leave you and stop blinding your mind from the real you, the one that has the mind of Christ. The second you make that declaration, you have separated yourself from the rogue thoughts of your mind. They are silenced. Once you realize the negative thoughts are not you, they become the enemy and are taken captive. Those who are born again are given the ability to access the mind of Christ and the mind of Christ does not think those thoughts. Therefore you must see those thoughts as the enemy and put them beneath your feet where they belong.
The opposite of this fact is also true. When you do not realize that your thoughts are not the real you, they are allowed to operate unfettered and those thoughts create the very pain that we attempt to avoid.
When we realize the thoughts are not real, but simply the fiction of our mind used by the enemy to pull us out of shalom and into the world of pain where he dwells, we can defeat him at his own mind games. Since our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions, the only way to have complete peace is to deny the mind the ability to think negative thoughts which lead to our pain and suffering. And the first way we do that is by separating ourselves from those thoughts by declaring, "I am not my mind!"
In part 3, we will unpack a concept mentioned in part 1, discover where the source of our pain lies, and see how many scriptures revolve around it. I believe well over 90% of our pain is related to one single point that we will discuss in the next article.