Vincere = Take Your Thoughts Captive
Vincere = Conquer in Latin
PART THREE OF SIX
As a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). If you could write down your thoughts for a 24 hour period, what drives them? What dominates your thoughts? What would you be if your thoughts defined you? And would that definition be a reflection of God?
If we are to conquer ourselves, we must conquer our minds and our thought lives. Following are three things I think can greatly help us in this area:
Do you have the mind of Christ? “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). We can look at Paul’s writing leading up to the statement in verse 16 to gather several things. The mind of Christ involves the wisdom of God (verse 7). The mind of Christ is given to believers through the Holy Spirit (verses 10-12). The mind of Christ is folly to the unbeliever, but spiritual discernment is given to the believer through the mind of Christ (verses 14 and 15). We have the mind of Christ if we know the Lord. The Lord gives us wisdom and discernment through the mind of Christ and reveals heavenly things to us; we are tasked with the responsibility to use it.
Are you transformed by the renewal of your mind? “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Being transformed by the renewal of our mind is the direct opposite of being conformed to this world. As Christians, we must think differently as we are not of this world. What is opposite of this world? God’s Holy Word. We say, “I want to be transformed, how do I do it?” By the renewing of your mind; examining what God’s Word says about each and every matter (a shout out to my good friend Pascal Nayigiziki on this one).
Have you learned to take your thoughts captive? “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). As we battle the flesh, sinful thoughts are bound to creep into our mind. Thoughts of lust, greed, envy, anger, and other lies from the devil will try to get a foothold. We must not let them! We must learn to dismiss them quickly and replace them with biblical and spiritual truths.
Follow me for a minute: the mind of Christ can be equated with feeling as wisdom and discernment are often given to us through feelings. I have seen over and over in my own life how God has given me wisdom and discernment through feeling. I just knew something and could feel it in my bones. The renewal of our mind is based on truth. As we study God’s word, our mind is renewed over and over again. Keep your nose in the word and it is just about impossible to be conformed to this world. Conquering our mind cannot be done with just feeling alone. Nor can it be done with the truth by itself. But if we partner the feelings given through the mind of Christ (wisdom and discernment) with the truth of Scripture in renewing our minds, we can take action to take every thought captive. God gives us discernment over our thoughts that remind us of the truth of Scripture and we are able to put this into action. Revelation through feelings, together with renewal through the truth of the word, empowers us to take action. If you put these three together, you have a powerful combination in our thought battle against the flesh.
When we start to think in a worldly manner, we must stop our thoughts immediately. Switch channels to the mind of Christ; through wisdom and discernment we see what is right. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind; the truth of Scripture renews us. Capture every thought in obedience to Christ; we will not let worldly thoughts overtake our mind and turn into the action of sin.
Just for today, take your thoughts captive. Let the Lord conquer your mind. Ask Him to do it. Revelation. Renewal. Action.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Four….