We’ve all been cautioned at one point or another to not believe everything we hear. Whether it’s something someone else tells us, something we see on TV or something we read on social media, we recognize the importance of determining for ourselves what is true and not blindly believing every piece of unverified information that comes our way.
But I’ve always thought of this filtering of truth as something I need to do only with external information… when really a lot of the lies I need to weed out are the ones that I’m telling myself.
Our thoughts can lie. And while we can’t always control the thoughts that enter our mind, we can choose whether or not we dwell on them. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive, and we can start doing that by recognizing not every thought we have is grounded in truth.
The interesting thing about 2 Corinthians 10 is that the section is entitled “Paul’s defense of his ministry.” He was receiving criticism that while his letters were strongly worded and bold, he lacked that strength in person – essentially that he was hiding behind his words. While this could have derailed his confidence, his thought process, his composure, he pauses in the middle of his defense to remind them of the divine power they have to demolish strongholds, arguments and pretensions: a power that lives within our minds. Whether it’s lies about God, distractions from God or criticisms that make us doubt our work for God, all of these strongholds have the potential to occupy space in our minds and move us away from knowing God.
We talk a lot about making Jesus the king of our hearts. But just as important is making him the king of our minds as well. And just like we can set boundaries with the external information that others feed us, we can also set boundaries over the internal information that our fears, doubts, worries and insecurities feed us. We don’t have to be helpless victims of our thoughts. The more we take ownership of our thoughts, the more freedom we will experience. And the less likely we will be at the mercy of others’ opinions of us.
So, here’s a gentle reminder to us all that just because we think something doesn’t make it true. Instead of being swayed by what others think, we must trust what God says about us. And instead of being captivated by our own thoughts, we take them captive and make them obedient to God.