"For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]."
// Philippians 4:8 [AMP]
Life in a place like New York City doesn’t always lead to the most positive, healthy or beneficial thoughts towards others and ourselves. I mean, what am I supposed to do when there’s a girl obliviously leaning on the pole in the subway so I can’t hold onto anything? Thank her?
How many of our thoughts do we validate as ‘just the way we are’ or ‘just the way we think’? How much of our logic should we stand by and how is the validity of our opinions weighed against that of others’? Should we change the way we think? Why? Surely we’re justified to continue thinking our own thoughts as unique (highly intelligent and inspired) individuals, right?
According to Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, every moment of every day we are changing our brains with our thoughts in either a positive or a negative direction. Every time we think or choose, we cause structural change in our brain and we impact our spirit, soul and body.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says we can “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” That means we are empowered to take control of our thoughts; our thoughts don’t have to control us.
So we have the power to choose. We get to hold fast to negativity, offense, grudges or silent curse words aimed at the girl on the subway if we want to. Or we can choose to bring our thoughts up to a higher level, to align them with positive, healing, encouraging words of peace, love and optimism – that is, bring them into line with the thoughts of Christ.
Craig Groeschel describes “taking captive every thought” as capturing any thought that doesn’t glisten with faith, hope, and love, and wrestling it to the ground. That’s probably a better plan than wrestling the girl on the subway…
// Alicia Hosking