woman thinking - take thoughts captive

Take Every Thought Captive

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:5

To listen to our vocabulary you’d think we are the victims of our thoughts. “Don’t talk to me,” we say. “I’m in a bad mood.” As if a mood were a place to which we were assigned (“I can’t call you. I’m in Bosnia.”) rather than an emotion we permit.

Or we say, “Don’t mess with her. She has a bad disposition.” Is a disposition something we “have”? Like a cold or the flu? Are we the victims of the emotional bacteria of the season? Or do we have a choice?

Paul says we do: “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Do you hear some battlefield jargon in that passage —”take captive every thought,” “make it obedient to Christ”? You get the impression that we are the soldiers and the thoughts are the enemies. Our assignment is to protect the boat and refuse entrance to trashy thoughts. The minute they appear on the dock we go into action. “This heart belongs to God,” we declare, “and you aren’t getting on board until you change your allegiance.”

Selfishness, step back! Envy, get lost! Find another boat, Anger! You aren’t allowed on this ship. Capturing thoughts is serious business.

It was for Jesus. Remember the thoughts that came his way courtesy of the mouth of Peter? Jesus had just prophesied his death, burial, and resurrection, but Peter couldn’t bear the thought of it. “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him . . . Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’ ” (Matthew 16:22–23).

See the decisiveness of Jesus? A trashy thought comes his way. He is tempted to entertain it. A cross-less life would be nice. But what does he do? He stands at the gangplank of the dock and says, “Get away from me.” As if to say, “You are not allowed to enter my mind.”

What if you did that? What if you took every thought captive? What if you refused to let any trash enter your mind? What if you took the counsel of Solomon: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

Question: If you were to take every thought captive to Christ, how would that change your life?

Devotional drawn from the Lucado Encouraging Word Bible, NIV Edition.


  1. Shamala Chandra says:

    So beautifully put. I have been battling with feeling low, tried associating it with the food I had eaten, etc. But this verse says it all, that it is the wrong thoughts, a foreboding thought, a disappointing thought maybe. Now I have become aware of any thought that comes to my mind and recognize if it’s negative and immediately say sorry, and ask for forgiveness for allowing that thought pattern to have dominated my mind. I feel so free and lively. I am so thankful to Jesus and I love Him.

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  2. Glory says:

    I have always battled with my thoughts, always having thoughts of death and ungodly things in my mind. But now I know I can reject these thoughts. Recently, I have started to rebuke evil thoughts, with authority given to me by our Father, when they do come to my mind and they all go away. It sure is a lot of work capturing thoughts, but the loads of works can’t be compared to the peace that comes after it. Thank you Jesus!

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