In each Epistle, this column features a single question to which our pastors are asked to reply. It is usually connected to the issue’s theme and crafted to reveal the unique personalities and experiences of our beloved leaders.

Share with us your strategy for how you have learned to take your thoughts captive. (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)

Pastor June Barrow
First, Scripture is the true Word of God. Nothing more consistently orients my life, so I want to keep reading and learning. Second, this verse guides me: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” (Philippians 4:8, NLT). Good advice 2,000 years ago—and today.

Pastor Steven Grant
It all begins with where my heart is. If one’s heart is first held by Jesus, then the mind will follow. The extent to which we pull away from Him is the extent to which our thoughts are impacted by the world rather than by Him. When He has my heart, He directs my thoughts. When I am diligent in the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, the sacraments, acts of service, and being under the authority of the Word, He keeps my thoughts captive.

Pastor Su Kim
I have found two strategies that are extremely helpful when worldly thoughts distract me: (1) I take a walk and pray about it (being in Southwest Florida certainly helps with this one); and (2) I pray and discuss it with a trusted, mature disciple of Christ.

Pastor Doug Pratt
Paul seems to be talking about his efforts in Corinth to refute the false claims of non-Christians. But this verse may also be understood in a personal sense: How do I personally deal with the wrong, sinful, distracting, self-elevating, and critical thoughts that try to creep into my brain? This is precisely why I have made a priority of memorizing Scripture (so that I can defeat my wrong thinking with right thinking from God’s Word) and why I try to read a portion of the Bible daily to keep it in the forefront of my mind.

Pastor Brad Rogers
When we are physically or emotionally worn out it can be hard to hold our thoughts obedient to Christ. In these moments I recall Bible verses. For example, when I am weary at the end of the day and don’t have the energy to finish the tasks I need to, I recall Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NLT) “So I decided there is nothing better than to… find satisfaction in work.” This reminds me that God created me to enjoy the work and find satisfaction in completing tasks. The Bible hidden in our heart holds our thoughts captive to Christ.

Pastor Allen Walworth
The struggle for our character is waged on the battlefield of the mind. Before there are words or actions, habits or character traits, there is a thought. So I try to nourish my mind with a steady diet of inspiring and challenging words, find community with people who are encouragers, and pay close watch for the encroachment of the weeds of impure or negative thoughts in the garden of my mind. Loving the Lord our God with all our mind, all of our strength, and all of our soul is the foundation of the Christian life.

Another Perspective
The Epistle also asked Dr. Al Barrow, Director of the First Church Spiritual Development Center, his strategy for taking each thought captive. Here is what he said:
“I begin each day by sitting quietly and welcoming the Father. I then look out my window at the blue sky and quiet my mind–that is, stop the chatter in my head. Usually, I am reading through the Bible and I ask the Father to speak to me through His Word. I then pray that He might take over my mind and emotions that day, to better see what He sees and hear what He hears.” – Dr. Al Barrow