Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City, Utah, bedroom on June 5, 2002. She was found alive nine months later in a Salt Lake City suburb. Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee were later sentenced and convicted. They both received life sentences for their crime.
God's Word is not silent on the topic of kidnapping. In fact, it talks a lot about kidnapping of a very different sort--one that is actually beneficial.
To kidnap, or take captive, according to dictionary.com, means to take or hold as a prisoner, especially in war; or to keep in confinement or restraint.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, God instructs us to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”
Action movies always show the bad guys sneaking around in the dark with chloroform-laced handkerchiefs waiting to spring upon innocent victims. It’s a little harder to imagine kidnapping a thought, but the principles are very similar.
Would-be kidnappers often wait in the dark for their victims.
Kidnappers sometimes kidnap victims in response to a wrong that person has committed. They feel their victims deserve to be kidnapped. Many of my thoughts certainly deserve to be kidnapped. They steal my peace, undermine my faith, and cause me to question the work of God in my life. Sometimes these thoughts invite me to wonder if God hears my prayers and question if he cares enough to act on my behalf. These are thoughts God deems worthy of kidnapping.
Sometimes kidnappers chase their victims.
My thoughts do the same. When fear strikes, it takes me from a headache, to an MRI, to an oncology ward, to a funeral.
When doubt assaults, an unknown cell phone number becomes a mistress, which leads to a divorce, leaves me discarded and alone for the rest of my life.
This is how our thoughts work, and this is why God commands us to take every thought captive.
So once we capture our thoughts, what do we do with them? Surprisingly, Dictionary.com provides a very biblical answer:
1. Take our thoughts captive, because we are in a war. The war is waging in our minds, and the prize is our hearts. Every sin, whether it’s hidden, like fear, or blatant, like adultery, begins in the mind. Eve first questioned whether God had told her the truth about the fruit. Likewise, King David entertained the thought of adultery long before he committed the act. If we battle as though we are in a war, we fight intentionally.
2. Take our thoughts captive for the purpose of confining and restraining them. Doubt, fear, lust, anger, jealousy, bitterness, and lying have no place in the life of a Christian. God commands us to subject our thoughts to him.
Taking every thought captive doesn’t require a ski mask and a pistol, but it does require a sword.
Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. As we read, learn, and memorize scripture, we acquire a powerful weapon with which to fight wrong thinking.
Hebrews 4:12 tell us that “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Whenever a thought enters our minds, we can apply the litmus test of scripture to determine whether to welcome it as a house guest or take it captive ‘til the thought police arrive.
When our thoughts tell us God doesn’t care, scripture reminds us that he loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
When our thoughts invite us to read a steamy novel, watch an inappropriate movie, or gossip, God’s Word encourages us to think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
When our thoughts tempt us to nurture bitterness and anger, the Word challenges us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
If we want to be victorious in the battle raging around us, we can’t passively allow ungodly and unbiblical thoughts to waltz into our hearts and take up residence. By arming ourselves with our swords, kidnapping the thoughts that assail us, and bringing them into subjection to the truth of God’s Word, we will win the war in Jesus’ name and for his glory.
How have you taken your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ? I invite you to leave a comment below and join the conversation.
Special Note: I'll be speaking to the lovely ladies of the SHIELD homeschool support group in Lexington, South Carolina, this evening. If you're a homeschooling mom in the area and need encouragement as you begin the new year, please feel free to join us. I'll be sharing a chapter from my book, Joy in the Journey, "Six Reasons Homeschooling Moms Quit and How to Avoid Them."
The meeting is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Rock (youth building) of The Harvest Church, 4865 Sunset Blvd., Lexington. For more information, click here. Email Tracy if you're planning to attend:
If you need an encouraging speaker for your women's ministry event or homeschool meeting and would like to know more about my speaking ministry, click here.
If you enjoyed this devotion, you'll love Lori's devotional book for homeschooling moms, Joy in the Journey.
Just in time for the new year, Mardel.com is offering JITJ at a 20% discount. Click HERE to order.
With a devotional for every week of the school year, JITJ has application questions, an action step, and a prayer. It's suitable for your own devotional reading or for use by a support group for meeting ideas.
Don't start your new year without it!
For more information and to read what other homeschooling moms are saying about Joy in the Journey, click here.
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