II Corinthians 10:5
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.
I know this is what I’m supposed to do. When my thoughts are lying to me and dragging me down into depression or egging me on into worry and anxiety, I know I’m supposed to take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.
But it’s really hard to do that.
When the obsessive thoughts won’t slow down long enough for me to catch them, or the manic thoughts feel too good to be bad for me, it’s hard to do what God’s Word tells me to do.
God knew that it would be too hard for me, and He never expected me to do it alone.
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
My part is obedience, even if I’m weak or afraid. But God promises me that He will work in me to get the job done. He will fill in the gaps of strength or will in my imperfect, human mind and accomplish His Will in my life in spite of my weaknesses.
Paul knew this, so before he told us to capture our disobedient thoughts, He defined the parameters of the war that we were in.
II Corinthians 10:3-4
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
Positive thinking can’t demolish strongholds. Medication can’t destroy arguments. When I’ve tried to fight my mind using only natural weapons, I haven’t always won. There were some days when my illness rolled right over those natural weapons and dragged me along behind in a cloud of despair.
When I started focusing my life on God and His Word, He gave me new weapons. And these new weapons were backed up by the full power of His divine strength.
But having a weapon does no good if I don’t have the strength to use it. And God knew that, so He told me that He would help me.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When I am anxious, depressed, obsessed, manic – in every situation – I have to do my part and bring those struggles to God. That includes believing that He is both willing and able to fight my thoughts for me, and thanking Him for doing so.
Then He will do what I can’t and surround my mind with His peace.
I bring the prayer; He brings the peace.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
He didn’t tell me to renew my own mind. He told me to allow myself to be transformed as He renews my mind. I do this by exposing my mind to His Word on a regular basis. Then His Word judges my thoughts and attitudes (Heb. 4:12) and shows me what His Will is.
I open my mind to His Word; He shows me which thoughts are lined up with His.
I still use all the natural weapons at my disposal, because that’s also my part. I just back them up with God’s Word so that they’re full of God’s strength and not just my own.
I make it a point to keep my thoughts positive.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I follow the advice of doctors and take my medications as prescribed.
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
And then, if I’m still not strong enough to make my mind line up with the truth, I lean on His Word and trust that He will do in me what I can’t.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
How has God helped you fight your mind when you couldn’t do it alone?
Photo credit: geralt