I was recently troubled by some things at my job. (Who isn’t, right?) Untruths being spoken and shared. Judgment being questioned. It happens. But it bothered me more than usual. I kept replaying the scenes and the words in my head. The more it repeated in my mind, the more worked up I got. It drove me kinda crazy actually. I was trying to let it go, but it just wasn’t working. The more I thought, the more I was ready to put the hammer down on everyone involved!
Because I felt like my thoughts were consuming me, I literally had to tell myself out loud, “Okay…stop thinking about that. Just stop! Be done! Let it go!”
And in my mind, I’m sure the scenes I recreated over and over again, got a little more intense and a little further from the truth each time. My reactions were probably overreactions. It happens.
I recalled the verse from 2 Corinthians 10:5 “…take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (I do love when God’s Word pops up in our minds at the right time and in the right space.) This one was timely for me. In all reality, however, we probably take it a bit out of context from what the Apostle Paul was talking about in the passage. But the application of this verse certainly doesn’t lead us astray.
So, as I was replaying these scenes and words from work in my head, and this verse was brought to my mind, I decided to look it up in the Message Translation. Check this out…“fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”
Yep, those three things described exactly what was happening to me as I churned over and over the events from work. Ugh! My thoughts of anger, irritation, uneasiness, indignation, being undermined, etc. All of them fit right into that verse.
But Paul encourages us to fit those things–our loose thoughts, our emotions, our impulses–into the “structure of life shaped by Jesus.” I love that phrase! I had to quickly measure my consuming thoughts, emotions, and impulses against the “structure of life shaped by Jesus.” Structure of life…shaped by Jesus. (Let that phrase marinate for a while…)
Jesus who said:
- “Don’t worry.”
- “Take heart.”
- “Have faith.”
- “Follow Me.”
- “Trust Me.”
The scenes I created in my mind didn’t fit with the “structure of life shaped by Jesus.” Not even close!
Here’s the thing…the words and actions of others can, in a way, hold us in bondage. By dwelling on them over and over again, they can enslave us. But Paul exhorts us to “take captive every thought” we have. The Greek word there actually means to “lead away captive.” So in essence, we are to bind, gag, and lead these unproductive, acetic thoughts away from us. Rather than be held captive by our thoughts, we are to take them captive. And we have the powerful God-tools to do so. It’s just a matter of recalling them, grabbing them, and putting them to use. Not necessarily a walk in the park to accomplish, but available and powerful.
That’s how I’d describe our great big God!