Destructive Thoughts, Constructive Action
September 8, 2021
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 NIV
“Take every thought captive.” That means I have the opportunity and ability to do something constructive about my destructive thoughts. No one knows for sure how many thoughts we have in a day, but for sure we have thousands of them. Science and Scripture agree that these thoughts shape who we are, who we become, and the actions we take. As we actively morph into the person our thoughts create, that person either builds or destroys us and others.
Paul tells us in order to be mentally healthy and please God as well, we must prepare for war. He says we go into the fight aware that our mind is making arguments that set us up against God and becoming our best self. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Communication Pathway expert who shows us the connections between Scripture and science, tells us that the mind is like a super-highway. Our thoughts travel roads called neural pathways that are continuously in formation from the time we are very young. Some well-traveled paths become wide and deep, like roads we travel every day. These thoughts become deeply held beliefs over time and compose our character and the way we handle life.
When something happens, our thoughts automatically travel the well-worn path we have constructed over time. They end up reinforcing the beliefs we’ve learned. For instance, you may have felt rejection and inadequacy at a very young age over instances you can’t even consciously remember. Then there was that time no one chose you for a school recess ball team. Over time a pathway becomes an “I’ll Never Be Good Enough Drive.” When our spouse criticizes us or we don’t get the job promotion we desire, we automatically go down that road.
Paul says we can keep those wrong beliefs as our reality, or we can change them. Science (which is actually a study of God’s work) is showing us through brain research that we can change the paths our thoughts travel by being mindful and intentional. Dr. Leaf says it this way: “The mind controls the brain, not the other way around.” Paul says, “Take captive every thought...”
When we begin the practice of thinking about our thoughts and where they go, we can change our lives. Instead of spiraling into depression and anger when we experience conflict or pain, we can create new paths that build on God’s love, grace, and His perfect plan for our lives. The choice is ours. Thoughts on auto-pilot lead to despair. We can think about our thoughts and use God’s Word to change the destination.
- Jesus, help me today to bring my thoughts in line with Your Word and will for me. Amen.