Day 3 of 7
“ Take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV). – Apostle Paul
Step 2A– Intentionally choose to stop the worry or anxiety.
(Step 2 has parts A, B, C)
- “I will never be happy.”
- “There is this constant worry…”
- “It is just too much.”
- “I am completely overwhelmed.”
Yesterday you listed out some of your own specific thoughts. You also prayed about them in detail and authentically in God’s presence. Now, it is time to stop them.
Wait, can I really do that? you might be asking.
In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul is defending his ministry. He is talking about destroying strongholds and arguments that are against God. Then he offers some very wise advice: take every thought captive.
Yes, you can do this! This is not going to be easy, but it is possible.
I want to emphasize how intentional step 2A is. Look at some of the words Paul uses in this chapter. Destroy. Waging War. Building. Do these sound like things that happen by accident or chance? Likely not. What about “taking captive”? Imagine someone saying, I just happened to take the bank teller captive (please don’t), but you understand the point, don’t you?
I remember listening to Alistair Begg recount the anxiety he experienced on a deep level after his mother passed away. He describes being in university when one morning, the school’s president woke him up and told him the awful news. So many thoughts came rushing in. Who would take care of his dad, his siblings, or the finances? Alistair talked at length about having to intentionally give the anxious thoughts to God. Moment by moment, hour by hour, time after time—that is what is required. It takes work, and it takes intentional effort.
Please take a moment to listen to this message in its entirety for help with anxiety, and pay special attention to minute number 24 in order to hear this exact story. It is powerful!
I once had a counselor tell me to talk to my anxious thoughts out loud. Tell them: “Stop, I’m not going to worry!” (As a side note, if you ever try that, make sure you are not in a public place or you’re going to have to deal with some other problems.) You must consciously choose to intentionally stop thinking that anxious thought.
Now you know as well as I do that just trying not to think something almost has the opposite effect. It is like telling someone who wants to stop smoking to just not think about it. What if I asked you not to think about your most embarrassing moment from elementary school? Chances are, memory lane would lead you right to the spot. It is difficult to dismiss our worries—especially when they’re causing stress. However, today’s verse tells us we can. We have to make that choice. We say to ourselves, “Today, this verse tells me that I do not have to be worried about _________.”
Please note that in this 2nd step parts A and B should be practically simultaneous. Tomorrow we will look at part B (2B). This will help us know what to do with the vacancy created when taking that anxious thought captive. You will learn about how to replace the thought with something better—something biblical.
Your homework: Take yesterday’s sketch with your worries on it; then draw a line through each one. You are going to take these thoughts captive, starting today!