As a pastor, I am often surrounded and seemingly bombarded by a barrage of other people’s problems: suffering marriages, divorces, infidelity, the death of a child, the death of a spouse, sicknesses, hospital rooms… After a while, if I’m not careful, that stuff can overwhelm me. For a few months at the end of 2014, I would catch myself mentally traveling far down a path of unnecessary thoughts. These weren’t dreams. They didn’t happen at night. They happened during the day, while I was fully conscious and going about with my life. Sometimes I would dwell on these thoughts for 5-10 minutes as they took me down deep, dark rabbit trails. I would eventually catch myself and have to frantically dig back out of the mental grave I had put myself into. I’d pray, sometimes almost in tears, thanking God that what I had been thinking wasn’t true, and asking Him to help me control my thoughts. And since I grew up in church and spend a lot of time around Christians, a common Christian cliche would come to mind:
“I need to take those thoughts captive.”
I knew that was from the Bible (2 Cor 10:5), but what does that even mean? How exactly does one take a thought captive? And when it’s been successfully captivated, what do I do with it? And how can I obey Christ with my thoughts? Am I just a helpless victim of a deranged mind? I spent a good month wrestling through this battle in my mind, praying, journaling and learning personally what it means to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
It’s from this personal struggle that this series emerges…and I can’t wait to share it!
I’ve learned that I am not a victim, an innocent bystander or even just a passenger on my ship. I’m the captain of my ship and when my thoughts attempt to overtake me, I have to take swift, severe action against them, or they will lead to shipwreck.
Many of the series and books that I teach are things I’m learning as we learn together as a church. This series is different. This series is composed of pages straight out of my personal journal. Months before this series was even in my mind, it was something I was learning personally.
If you’re in Clarksville, I hope you’ll join us for this deeply personal and practical series about waging the war of the mind. If you’re not in Clarksville, join us on Sundays at 10:45am CT live online at awakenchurch.org/live, or catch the archive once it’s up in our teaching archive.