Do you every feel like you’re going through your day, making it just fine, when all of a sudden, a thought comes to you out of nowhere that just changes everything about the way you were feeling and makes you have emotional reactions you just didn’t have a few seconds ago? For instance, let’s say you’re just driving down the road, when out of the blue, you remember that thing so-and-so said that really hurt you. Now, even though you were doing just fine, you’re not anymore. Now you’re feeling hurt all over again. Now you’re feeling angry and small and stupid. The more you think about it and dwell on that thing that happened, the more upset you get, and before you know it, you want to go do something about it! You want to get so-and-so back and hurt them the way they hurt you, right?
Or, how about this example: Let’s say you’ve really been doing great in handling a certain temptation that’s been a problem for you in the past, but then, all of a sudden, a commercial comes on, or you get a text message from that one friend, and before you know it, you’re right back there where you used to be - where you swore you’d never be again, hating the way it feels to fall one more time. Does anybody know what I’m talking about with that?
Let me start off by saying that if you know how it feels to go through a situation like either of these, I’m sorry, because I know how it feels too, and I can tell you from experience that it sucks out loud. You’re going along doing great, making changes, walking with the Lord, feeling strong and then it feels like the slightest little thing changes, and BOOM! You’re right back where you were. The question is: What happened?! How could you get derailed in one little second from a walk that had been going so well for so long?
The answer is very simple and it is this: You need to learn how to arrest your thoughts.
Now, some of you are wondering what in the world I mean by that. How do you arrest your thoughts? What does that even mean? You can’t handcuff ideas, and lock up the way you think, right?
Actually, you can and should. You see, sometimes thoughts come into your head that you didn’t ask for or originate. These thoughts trigger certain emotions, insecurities, doubts and fears. Before you know it, you’re emotions are outrunning all the progress you were making in your faith and you feel terrible. Sometimes your thoughts get your emotions so ramped up that you actually go straight from feeling terrible to doing something terrible to make yourself feel better. This is exactly what the Enemy wants.
Check out what Paul has to say in 2 Corinthians 10:5 - “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Wow. Isn’t that awesome? Paul wrote this verse in the Greek language and the word we have translated ‘captive’ was literally the word, “prisoner.” There are certain thoughts that come into your head that you should treat like a prisoner. You should arrest them. You should detain them. You should be appalled at them and long to see them behind bars. Today, your mind will be bombarded with destructive thoughts. You will think about certain insecurities, lies, doubts and fantasies that will bring you down and stunt your spiritual growth, and when you feel them creeping in, don’t entertain them! Don’t invite them in and feed them and nurture them! Don’t let them find a comfy place to sit down in your mind and heart - take them captive! When you feel insecurities, fears and worries creeping in, say to them, “You are under arrest!” The way you do that is to be ready with the truth. You can take your destructive thoughts captive by knowing what Jesus says that’s true of you. That means you’re going to have to invest in Him. Spend time with Him in His Word, soaking up as much ammo as you can, so that when those thoughts show up, you have what you need to take them out.