We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . . 2 Corinthians 10:5

How do we practically apply this verse – learning to take every thought captive – and why does it matter? That’s what we’ll unpack today, and you’ll gain help from closely looking at it.

Take Every Thought Captive

It’s important to take every thought captive for two reasons as described in this verse:

1. To refute lies
2. To obey Christ

As a Christian, you want to follow Jesus’ example in how you live your life. Since Jesus was without sin, he never struggled with sinful thoughts. Yet he was tempted in every way that we are (Heb. 4:15), so he understands our thought life struggles and shows compassion to us in them.

It’s also likely that you are believing lies that need to be refuted. You may hear lies from Satan, who tempts you to believe and do wrong things. Lies that others have told you may also affect your thought life in negative ways. Finally, you may even tell yourself lies without even being aware of them.

When you intentionally take every thought captive, you can overcome the lies that have held you down and live in greater obedience to God. You’ll have increased peace knowing that lies no longer hold power over you and that you’re walking along the right path.

Capturing Your Thoughts

This process of mind renewal starts by thinking about what you’re thinking. What problem are you struggling with most? You can learn a lot about yourself by thinking about your thoughts.

Try this exercise: For one hour, write down every negative thought that pops into your head. Don’t judge yourself for these thoughts; simply observe and record. You’ll likely be surprised by just how many lies you believe about God, yourself, and others. These lies will be exposed when you write them down.

Once they are recorded, you can examine your thoughts. You can notice patterns they take, usually thinking someone or something, including yourself, is either too much or not enough. That’s when you can capture your thoughts, correct them according to the truth in God’s Word, and be set free from the lies.

Examples of Taking Every Thought Captive

Everyone deals with thought-life problems. The lies manifest in diverse ways, according to our experiences and childhoods. Consider these examples of common thought life problems, and how you can take your thoughts captive for positive changes.


Tori was a stay-at-home mother of three small children. When her husband traveled out of town for work, she suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. She visited a Christian counselor for help. The counselor worked with Tori to identify her anxiety triggers, practice deep breathing, and using meditation on God’s Word to calm her thoughts.

Tori’s counselor also helped her form a plan for organizing her day and asking her family for help to reduce her feelings of being overwhelmed. Tori’s favorite Bible verse for fighting anxiety is Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”


Janet was new to the empty nest with her husband, Bob. He was looking forward to enjoying more leisure time with Janet now that their two children were grown and out of the house. But Janet felt depressed, and she was crying almost every day. After two weeks of these crying spells, Bob encouraged Janet to speak with a Christian counselor.

Janet gained help in walking through the grieving process with her counselor because her thoughts revolved around the loss of her children’s presence. They also discussed ways to strengthen her marriage now that she and Bob had more time together. Janet found strength by meditating on this truth in God’s Word: “The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1


Allen was a successful businessman, a supportive husband, and a good father. Yet he had long believed the lie that he was inadequate and therefore unworthy of his successes. When he met with a Christian counselor, he discovered that his fear of inadequacy was rooted in his relationship with his father, to whom nothing was ever good enough.

Once his counselor helped him walk through grieving the love he never received from his father, he felt emotionally stronger and more confident. When fears of inadequacy sprung back up, he declared the truth in Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


Taylor was new to ministry, serving as a youth pastor in a growing church. He faced much pressure in learning a new job, getting to know the children and parents, connecting with the congregation, and working with the church staff. Taylor felt overwhelmed and unprepared for the many hats he was expected to wear.

In his time alone, he struggled with the temptation to return to viewing porn, which he had once used to escape his pressure. He turned to a Christian counselor for guidance and accountability. His counselor worked with him on the thoughts that triggered his need for escape and countering those thoughts with healthy truths rather than the old lies he had once believed.

He also helped Taylor find a mentor for accountability in overcoming his temptations. Taylor found hope and help in this verse: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

You can get help for whatever thought-life problem you are facing in God’s Word and Christian counseling.

How to Take Every Thought Captive

Here are several practical suggestions for taking every thought captive:

Study the Bible daily. The Bible is the truth that will refute the lies you are believing. The more you study it, the more truth you will take in to fight the lies.

Recognize the mind-body connection. You can’t only change behaviors; you need to change thoughts that drive those behaviors. Start with transformation in your mind, and good behaviors will follow.

Declare truth over yourself. When a lie surfaces, beat it down by speaking God’s truth out loud. This is a surprisingly powerful tactic for breaking free.

Realize you are in a fight. Satan wants to keep you in bondage, so he will fight you hard when you try to break free. But God will empower you to fight back (see Eph. 6:10-18).

Find accountability. To achieve greater effectiveness in overcoming a problem of the thought life, ask your pastor or counselor to match you up with a prayer partner or mentor. This person will walk beside you in your struggle and lift you up.

Don’t give up hope. It takes time to overcome thought patterns because your brain has built pathways of negative thoughts. However, you can build new, healthy pathways when you apply the truth of God’s Word to your thoughts, again and again.

Go to God in prayer. God is your ever-present help in your thought struggles. He promises to guide you into all truth through the Holy Spirit. Send him an arrow prayer in times of temptation, a “Help me!” prayer that seeks a way out. He’ll be faithful to show you an exit door every time.

Need more help taking your thoughts captive? A Christian counselor can help you discover the roots of negative thought patterns and correct them with the truth of God’s Word.

“Journaling”, Courtesy of Lilartsy, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Journaling”, Courtesy of StockSnap, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Praying at Dawn”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Studying the Word”, Courtesy of Rachel Strong, Unsplash.com, CC0 License


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