Are Your Thoughts Holding You Captive?

I have never been a prisoner of war but I have read accounts of those who have. Many of the stories are horrific. Instead, I have been a prisoner of my own thoughts. And much like being a POW, I have had to endure a miserable life in those moments of captivity. What about you? Are your thoughts holding you captive?

Scriptures about “The mind as a battlefield”

Photo of hands tied- and text overlay of, "Are your thoughts holding you captive?"

The Bible has a lot to say about our minds and what we think about. Our thoughts determine who we are, how we act, and how we feel.

  • “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
  • “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . the spiritual forces of evil.” Ephesians 6:22
  • “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
  • “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
  • “But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:23
  • “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Romans 1:28

How can our thoughts hold us captive?

Our thoughts can become strongholds and strongholds are hard to break through.

When we let negative thoughts churn in our minds, it stirs up our emotions and the two becoming a cauldron of poison. It is much like taking individual strands of twine and weaving them together. A stronger rope is created each time another strand is added.

Strategies to keep your thoughts from holding you captive

Guard you mind and heart

Photo of a security guard to represent "guard your mind and heart", the heading of this section.

The Bible says that we need to guard our hearts with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). That means that we must resist- stop- reject thoughts that will harm us. Instead:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Guarding your heart takes work

Is it easy to think this way? Absolutely not. Remember, your mind is a battlefield. It is on this battlefield that the war is won or lost for your sense of hope, joy, and peace. Whenever you are feeling sad, lonely, hurt, or so many other negative feelings, ask yourself this. “What have I been thinking? Is it the truth?” Then replace your thoughts with God’s word.

“Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 “You will keep in perfect peace the person whose mind is focused on you.” Isaiah 26:3

Is it wrong to have negative feelings?

Close up of a sad woman deep in thought

While most negative feelings represent the truth at first, they can quickly morph into something much larger with many lies creeping into our minds. When we lose a job, that does not mean we are a failure. When our spouse leaves us or we are abandoned that does not mean we are unworthy of love. When we have been abused, that does not mean we are of no value. Satan will fill our minds with all kinds of lies. These lies will push our minds over the wall into a pit of despair if we do not take our thoughts captive.

Just remember this. You are in charge of what you think. “As a person thinks, so are they. Proverbs 23:7

Your thoughts will try to derail you at any given moment. When you demand that they come in line with the truth, they will fight you for control. We must set our minds on “things above,” Colossians 3:2. I have had to say to God many times, “I can’t do this without your help.”

Spend time with friends who love Jesus

The people that we spend time with impact the way we think and act. If our friends love Jesus, they can help us see the bigger picture and sort out God’s truth from Satan’s lies. The Bible talks about friendships.

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” Proverbs 16:28

Memorize scripture to keep your thoughts from holding you captive

Person reading the Bible- one of the keys to not letting your thoughts hold you captive

When you feel weak or incapable of doing what you need to do

  • “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
  • “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

When you feel like life is too hard

  • “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • “I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25
  • “All things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

When you feel like temptation is too great

  • “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4
  • “His strength is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
  • “God is faithful and provides a way of escape.” I Corinthians 10:13

When you feel lonely

  • God will not leave you or abandon you. Hebrews 13:5
  • You need to find someone to encourage. In giving, you will automatically receive a blessing. 2 Corinthians 1:4
  • The one who would have friends must first be friendly. Proverbs 18:24

Listen to music that tells you the truth about life

young woman listening to music

Music has a powerful effect on our emotions. When we listen to the truth, we give our minds a mini-vacation from negative thinking. The following are a few of the songs that have helped me remember that my hope and help is from God and God alone.

Are your thoughts holding you captive?

They don’t have to. The key to freedom is knowing Jesus in a personal way. This is more than intellectual knowledge about who he is, but a deep knowledge and love for Him and His ways. If you don’t know how to know Jesus, please call 1-888-need-Him, or you can chat at Someone is waiting there to talk with you.

“When you know the truth (Jesus), the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

I pray that you will claim your freedom in Jesus and not let your thoughts hold you captive.

Photo of writing that says, "same old thinking- same old results." This is what happens when your thoughts are holding you captive.

A gift for you and your thoughts

Since we are in a battle for what goes on in our minds, I would like to give you the scripture card shown here to remind you about the importance of your thoughts.

Simply click on the image below to download. No Email required.

Photo of a scripture card that says, "Whatever is lovely think on these things" Philippians 4:8.  This type of thinking is required if your thoughts are holding you captive.

When printed on card stock in a smaller size (like 3 by 5 inches), it can easily be laminated and hung with ribbon or twine.

Also see the resource page for journal pages, books, and music on finding hope, joy, and peace.

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