HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I pray your new year started off well and that this will be your greatest year of growth in your walk with God yet.
I believe with each new year we should strive to grow in God by cutting out things that need to be cut out and making the necessary changes for growth. One of the greatest areas I’ve noticed people struggle in the most is in their thought life. Our thoughts are the seeds that determine our actions. It is because of thoughts in our minds that many of us struggle to believe God’s word and what it says about us; it’s why we struggle to really grow in God, it’s why we don’t pursue things He’s told us to pursue, and even why we don’t cut off relationships we know aren’t good for us. I remember a time in my walk when I went through constant mental warfare and it was as if the enemy was beating me up in my mind. I couldn’t fully accept what God’s word said about me and as a result, I could not walk out who He called me to be. Eventually, I got tired of getting beat up. I decided to believe the word and use it to fight back against the enemy. I decided I wanted to be who He called me to be and walk in the authority He gave me as His daughter.
Sin takes place in our mind first, as thoughts, before we ever carry them out. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 tells us to “cast down” every argument (also called imaginations in other translations) and bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” But instead of casting the thoughts down we sit there and allow the thoughts to linger the wonder why we feel so defeated. But how do we cast the thoughts down? How do we practically apply 2 Corinthians 10:4-6? It’s one thing to be told to do something, but sometimes you need to know how to actually carry it out. Below are some steps that I’ve learned and used over the years on how to cast down, thoughts, imaginations, arguments, and every high thing that comes to plague our minds.
1. Identify the negative thoughts:
To cast down the thoughts you first have to identify them. You must discern if the thoughts are from God or the enemy. If it’s contrary to what God’s word says or what God says about you, it is from the enemy. If they are belittling thoughts, thoughts of doubt, fear, and unbelief, or thoughts of comparison, they are from the enemy.
2. Categorize the thoughts:
Categorize the thoughts into different areas. Are they thoughts of lust, fear, inadequacy/self-esteem/worthlessness, bad thoughts about others, thoughts regarding certain areas of your life such as school, work, your career, or marriage? Knowing specifically which areas the enemy attacks you in will help you to strategically make war in those areas. Which leads to the next step of finding Bible verses that deal with those specific areas.
3. Find Bible verses that deal with those areas:
Now that you know exactly what areas you struggle with in your thoughts, you can find specific Bible verses for those areas. It’s important that we use the word of God as a weapon to fight with. Hebrews 4:12 says,
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God’s word is alive, it’s powerful, and it’s able to destroy any spirit that comes to make war with your soul. It’s God’s word that will even expose the hidden issues of your heart so that you know how to pray and handle every situation you face. So, if one of your areas is lust, find bible verses that talk about sexual immorality (i.e. 1 Cor. 6:18-20, 2 Tim. 2:22, 1 Thess. 4:3). If it’s fear, find verses about fear (i.e. 1 Tim. 1:7, John 14:27, Josh. 1:9). When you find the verses, write them down! Write them down in a special notebook or on index cards that you can carry around with you. Early in my walk, God led me to get a notebook specifically to write down scriptures for warfare. I wrote down all the verses I found that talked about the areas I dealt with at the time and using a highlighter I color coded the verses. I would highlight a circle next to verses that talked about lust and sexual immorality, blue for verses that talked about faith, green for fear, and so on. This way when lust came knocking at my door I could quickly go to my notebook and read and meditate on the verses about lust.
4. Memorize, meditate, and believe:
So, you have your notebook and/or index cards with all your verses written out. Now it’s time to memorize those verses, meditate on them, and actually believe what you’ve memorized and meditated on. You can’t meditate on something you don’t know. That’s why it’s important to memorize verses. Memorizing isn’t easy for everyone, but memorize what you can. I promise you if you keep going back to the word every time the enemy attacks your mind, eventually you’ll start to remember by heart some of what you’ve read. You may not be able to memorize it word for word, but even just being able to paraphrase it helps you to fight. Repetition helps us to master things, so as you repeatedly go back to those key verses, they will be ingrained in your heart and mind. As you repeatedly go back to those verses and work on memorizing them, make sure to then meditate on them. To meditate means to concentrate, reflect, or focus on something. Psalm 119:15-16 says,
I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
And Joshua 1:8 says,
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
When we meditate on something it’s hard to forget about it. When you meditate on God’s word, whenever an attack comes you will immediately remember what His word says. When you meditate on God’s word you’ll be careful to live according to it, and it is as you live out the word that you will gain successful over whatever comes against you. If you want to conquer those thoughts, meditate on God’s word.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The more you hear the word repeatedly and the more you meditate on it repeatedly the more your faith in the word will increase. As your faith increases, you will begin to walk out the word! If you don’t believe what you’re writing down and meditating on, it becomes pointless. God’ word is greater than your thoughts, but you have to BELIEVE it. God’s word is mighty to pull down every stronghold in your mind. Do you believe it?
5. FIGHT with the Word and cast the thoughts down:
Now it’s time to FIGHT with the word! Now that you have it in your arsenal, fight with it! When the enemy comes at you with fear, come back at him with 1 Timothy 1:7! As the thoughts and imaginations are thrown at you, quickly cast them down and speak the corresponding verse against it, then meditate on that verse. His words should be so hidden in your heart that when these thoughts come at you, you don’t sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Like 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, these thoughts and imaginations come to “exalt themselves against the knowledge of God” in you. They sit high in your mind and come to play God in your heart; but that’s why we are commanded as believers to not allow those thoughts to dwell in our minds but to CAST THEM DOWN and place God’s word ABOVE them, back in its rightful place! This is how we bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ Jesus. Those thoughts must obey God’s word and be cast down!! They cannot remain there, do not let them linger, recognize that it’s a thought from the enemy, and cast it down immediately!
6. Walk in VICTORY and maintain your VICTORY:
As you begin to master casting down the thoughts and they no longer plague your mind, you can then walk in victory over them. This is where you “punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” Disobedience is punished when you no longer walk in it but instead walk in obedience to God’s word. Now once you’ve mastered the thoughts, DON’T GO BACK! Don’t go back to letting them rule your mind. Also, if God led you to stop certain habits and actions in order to get free, then don’t go back to doing those things either. For example: If He told you to stop watching TV shows and movies with sexual content or to stop hanging around certain people, continue to obey. Don’t think that you can handle it now that you’ve mastered it. No one can “handle” the enemy or sin; give sin an inch and it’ll take a mile. Don’t get cocky and confident in yourself, it was God that helped you get free and it is God that will help you stay free. Maintain your freedom, maintain your victory, maintain your deliverance; don’t play with your flesh. “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). In other words, even if you think you’ve mastered something, you should still be careful (take heed) that you don’t fall back into that thing. The flesh is a mess, so don’t trust it.
And now that you have mastered certain areas when you begin to get attacked in new areas and face new situations, you know what to do and you should have even greater hope and faith that through God’s word you can conquer it too.
For further healing:
Ask God to show you the root of your thoughts. There may be things that took place in your life that planted the initial lie, which grew into the tree of negative thoughts, which led to negative actions and habits. When God shows it to you, allow Him to bring healing to those areas so that those root issues can be uprooted.
As believers, we have been given weapons against the enemy and authority through Christ, use your weapons!
2 Corinthians 10:4-6
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”