When someone tells you they want to talk to you about your thought life, you probably think you know what’s coming. But actually, some types of thoughts are positive and helpful; it’s only the destructive type you want to avoid. Ohio’s Scott Couchenour blogged this at Serving Strong under the title, The Trilogy of Captive Thoughts.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10.5)
Thoughts. At the level of our thoughts, the trajectory of our ministry is determined. No one ever morally fails or succeeds overnight. Just as the bucket tips over after filling full of water one droplet at a time, our lives are a result of how we handle each thought one at a time. Here is a related post on the “little monkeys”.
In this effort of ours to avoid burnout as a pastor, clergy, ministry leader, church staff person, volunteer …whoever you are with the call of God on your life related to things eternal… we must grip every thought (every thought) that enters our mind. We hold the keys to the cell – let’s use ‘em. Here are 3 categories of thoughts:
This is what I typically think of when I read 2 Corinthians 10.5. The little shapely thing on the TV ad for GoDaddy, the suggestive, bikini-clad female on the magazine at the [grocery store] check-out line, or any type of trigger starts a line of thinking that, left un-captive, leads to disaster. And sex isn’t the only thing. There are people who make us feel inferior, unappreciated, unworthy. We even provide these thoughts ourselves. Take them captive and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Let HIM deal with these before they get bigger.
Heard of mentors? They’ve been where you are going. They learned lessons the hard way. Request to have coffee with them. Listen to them. But more than listen, take the thoughts captive by writing down in your personal development journal (you have one of those, don’t you?) Revisit the journal regularly. Don’t let the words of a mentor (or a conference speaker, or an author in a book) pass in one ear and out the other. Take them captive and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Let HIM filter and weave these truths into your personal experience.
Got a “win folder”? This is a file where you put those little notes of appreciation, those short tweets of encouragement, those comments in the foyer after church about the quality of your sermon. Your win folder may be a paper file in a desk drawer. I use Evernote. However you do it, take captive the positive things, those little confirmations, you hear as a result of what God is doing through you. Take them captive and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Let HIM take the glory and be blessed while keeping you the humble messenger.