2 Cor. 10:4-6
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
The years I spent in the world before coming to Christ were a period without self-control. If I desired something, I pursued it. If I captured it, I enjoyed it. I was of the mindset that I had every right to do, think, and say whatever I felt and thought. This created quite a conflict once I became a Christian because I had grown accustomed to letting my mind wander wherever it pleased. Not only that, I had a habit of leading my mind wherever it should not go. Because of this, I had a hard time looking at others in the Church with pure eyes. My excuse for this behavior was always the same, even though I knew that what I was doing was wrong. I had convinced myself that I could not control my thoughts, and thus, I was not responsible for them.
The mind is an interesting thing. On the one hand, we cannot control every image or idea that enters it. On the other hand, scriptures like today’s instruct us to take control of our thoughts. Spiritually, we are looking at the difference between temptation and sin. We are tempted by an idea to pursue something sinful. This could be a picture in our minds or a way that we process something we see or hear. When that idea comes about, we have a choice concerning what we will do with it. The thought might enter the mind involuntarily, but we certainly can grab hold of that thought and submit it. We then measure it against the teachings of Christ to determine whether it should be kept. If we are wise, we will send away the sinful thought and not follow it.
The picture I get is of the mind requesting permission from the person to pursue that thought or idea. There is a moment of truth available to us during which we determine whether we will flee or follow. That is our choice to make in every instance. Whether the thought is one of impurity, hatred, doubt, or disobedience does not matter. We are instructed to take these thoughts captive and make them submit to Christ only because we have the power to do so. This is an integral part of our spiritual warfare and an offensive technique we must learn to master if we are to remain obedient. Father, give us wisdom to recognize the thoughts in our minds which should go, and help us develop the habit of measuring all thoughts against your Son and your word.