3 Steps to Taking Your Thoughts Captive

You can do a lot of things to change your life, but if you don’t change your thinking first, your actions won’t be long-lasting.

There’s a lot of talk about mindset work right now, but this is a Christian idea. Paul told the Romans thousands of years ago to be transformed by the renewing of their mind.

Today I’m sharing 3 steps to taking your thoughts captive and why it’s so important. These 3 steps will absolutely change your life if you apply them!

Resources Mentioned:

Free Worksheet on Truth Journaling: https://ashleyvarner.com/free
The Mindset Reset: https://ashleyvarner.com/mindset
Renew180 (formerly 180Confidence): https://ashleyvarner.com/mastermind

Highlights from the Episode

There’s a lot of thought about mindset work and thought work out there right now, but this truly started as a Christian idea. Thousands of years ago, Paul told the Romans that they needed to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. 

And so today, I’m going to be sharing three practical steps that you can take to take your thoughts captive and really, why it’s important to do this. Why it’s important to take your thoughts captive and to pay attention to your thoughts. 

So if you apply these three steps to your life, I guarantee that you will see a significant change in your life this year. Let’s get started. 

Unstable emotions are a sign that you’re not taking your thoughts captive.

Welcome back to The Renewed Mind. I am so glad that you’re here. 

If you haven’t subscribed, make sure to do so. Let YouTube know that you are wanting to have Biblical motivation and videos on Christian thought work and really just videos that are Biblically based that talk about goals and productivity and really just some Christian coaching. So make sure that you let them know by subscribing. I am your host Ashley Varner and I’m excited to share this topic with you. 

Your circumstances have no DIRECT impact on your emotions.

This is something that is really dear to my heart because I believe that the enemy really tends to attack Christian women especially in the area of their emotions and their thoughts. And so, I want you to know that if you have unstable emotions, it’s a sign that you’re not taking your thoughts captive. 

Now, I want you to hear me out on this but your circumstances have no direct impact on your emotions. 

I know it’s hard to believe and I know that it’s kind of contrary to everything that we’ve understood in the past, but we all grow up thinking that our feelings are a direct result of our circumstances but there’s one piece that we’re missing in this cause and effect, and that is our thoughts. So your thoughts about your circumstances are what trigger your feelings. Not the circumstances themselves.

The Thinking Triangle

But I want to share with you today this idea of a thinking triangle. So any time that you have a thought, that thought results in an emotion and then that emotion is what triggers your actions. And so, those actions now trigger new thoughts, new thoughts trigger new emotions, and it’s just this triangle that goes around and around. 

I want you to see that the thoughts that you have about your circumstances are what determine your emotions. That’s why a certain circumstance can happen and two people have completely different emotional reactions to it, right, because their thoughts are different. 

Free Video Training: https://ashleyvarner.com/training

An example I always like to share about our thoughts and our emotions is the 2021 Superbowl. So in this Superbowl game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won. 

Now, if you have been a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a long time, then you know they hadn’t won a Superbowl in a while and if you are a die-hard fan, then you were probably super excited that they won the Superbowl. 

Now, if you aren’t a fan of Tom Brady who is their new quarterback, then you probably weren’t too happy that he won yet another Superbowl ring. 

Now, if you don’t care about football then you had no emotional reaction to the plays of this game, right? 

There are three different emotional reactions to the same game. 

So the circumstance is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Superbowl. It’s provable, there’s no emotion in it, but the thoughts that you put towards that circumstance are what determines your emotions. 

Now that’s kind of a silly example but let’s go back and look at an example from God’s word. 

We all know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego whenever they were thrown in the fiery furnace. Now, I have read this story so many times. 

What happened was these three men were told that they had to bow down to a statue. Whenever they refused, the king came in and said you are going to do this, or I’m going to put you in this furnace. I’m gonna burn you alive, basically. And they said, this is a quote that I love from God’s word, and they said, “Our God is surely able to save us from this “but even if He doesn’t, “we still will not bow to this idol.” 

As they were going through the circumstance, they had every right to be afraid, to be terrified, right, but as they were standing there, the thoughts that they had in their minds that God was able to save them but even if He wasn’t going to, they weren’t going to bow, those thoughts drove emotion that they were able to walk with confidence into that fiery furnace and we know that the Lord’s saving them from that. 

But I want you to see how they could’ve easily gotten together in a group and said, oh, I just don’t know. What am I gonna do? Should we bow, should we not? That’s not the kind of thoughts that they were having. 

They were thinking, our God is able. Our God is the only one who’s worthy of being praised and there’s no way that we are going to bow to this statue. 

Your circumstance has very little to do with your actual emotional reaction. Your thoughts about that circumstance are what drives your emotions. 

This is really good news because what this tells us is that we have the ability to change our thinking about our circumstances. You can have a different emotion about a circumstance without the circumstance ever-changing. 

You don’t have to depend on other people to change the circumstance or you don’t have to depend on the world at large to change a circumstance. You can choose to have different thoughts and emotions about that circumstance right now. 

Now, it does take work. That’s why I created the Mindset Reset. That’s why we’re offering 180 confidence because it definitely takes some work to get to this place but it’s important that we start by taking our thoughts captive. 

Thoughts are just sentences in your mind and so I am giving you permission to not believe everything that you think. I’m giving you permission to be able to change the thoughts that you have in your mind. And whenever we start replacing our thoughts with God’s thoughts, we start to see different emotions. 

Now, 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and verses three through five, says, “For though we live in the world, “we do not wage war as the world does. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. “On the contrary, they have divine power “to demolish strongholds. “We demolish arguments and every pretension “that sets itself up against the knowledge of God “and we take captive every thought “and make it obedient to Christ.”

Step 1: Be aware of what you’re thinking.

The first step that Paul gives us here is to be aware of your thinking. 

So we know that we have God’s help to control our thinking. Paul says that the weapons that we fight with aren’t weapons of the world. They have divine power to demolish strongholds. 

A stronghold is anything that has a stronghold on your thinking. 

If you need to demolish those habits, those thoughts that keep coming up and you need to figure out how to demolish that, you need divine power to do that. 

Step 2: Check your thoughts against God’s Word.

You need to go to God’s word to do that and so we first have to realize that we have God’s help in this process and then secondly, we have to be aware of the thoughts that are coming into our minds. 

Whenever you are struggling with these kinds of thoughts and you are wanting to change those thoughts, the first step is to realize that you’re not angry because your husband forgot to pick up milk or you’re not upset at your kids because they’re being disruptive. 

There’s a piece in the middle that you have to become aware of, and that’s the very first step is to be aware of the thoughts that are coming into your mind. 

The next step is to check those thoughts against God’s word. So once you’re aware of what those thoughts are, we have to get them on a piece of paper, write them down, I really encourage my clients to write down their thoughts, and then check them sentence by sentence against God’s word. 

We demolish strongholds by seeing if our thoughts line up with God’s word. 

It says that, “We demolish arguments “and every pretension that sets itself up “against the knowledge of God.” 

That’s God’s word. That’s how we know if our thoughts are actually lined up with what He’s teaching us. What His word says about us. 

So after you do that, after you write down your thoughts, you have to see if they line up. If they line up, they pass the test. Keep thinking those thoughts. If they don’t line up, then we have to get to the point where we say I am going to choose not to think this thought. 

Now, this is something that can be really simple or this can be something that’s really complex if you’re dealing with a particular relationship or even if you are needing to film a video and your thoughts are that you don’t want to film a video. 

Whatever it is, you can change the thoughts that you have in your mind and those thoughts will change your emotions. 

I actually have a free printable that you can download that talks you through this idea of truth journaling. So you’ll journal down your thoughts and then I take you step by step on how to check those thoughts against God’s word. 

Truth Journaling Free Resources

It is a journaling exercise for you so as you’re aware of your thoughts, you can start to check them against God’s word and decide, is this a thought I need to still be having or is this a thought that needs to go? 

Step 3: Take the thoughts that don’t line up captive.

The third step in taking your thoughts captive is to take the thoughts that don’t line up and get rid of them. This means that we have to know God’s word in order to know if our thoughts are lining up with them. 

Now, this is something that takes work and it really requires us to get into the meat of God’s word. That’s why it’s so important for us to be reading His word, for us to be meditating on it, and it’s going to take time. 

As you are looking at God’s word, what you have to do is every thought that comes to your mind, you need to decide, does this line up with God’s word? 

And if it doesn’t, then you need to decide am I going to let go of this lie? Because truly, that’s what it is. God’s word is truth, we know this. And so if our thoughts aren’t lining up with His truth, then we have to say I am not willing to believe this lie anymore. I’m not willing to believe this lie about my abilities. I’m not willing to believe this lie about my body. I’m not willing to believe this lie about my relationships or my life in general. 

We have to decide am I willing to let that go? Then we have to decide if we are reading through the Bible and there’s not really any clear direction on a particular thought that we have, then we need to decide, is this thought helpful to me? Is it useful to me? 

And so, a verse that I always like to go back to is Philippians 4:8, where Paul tells the people, “Think about things that are true “that are lovely, that are excellent and praiseworthy.” 

So if your thoughts don’t pass that test, then you can say, yeah, this thought might not be a lie but is it helpful for me? And if it’s not, then we need to choose to let that go and replace that with a new thought. 

Ways to Jump-Start Renewing Your Mind

I want to make sure that you know about some more resources that the Renewed Mind has. 

They are some ways for you just to jumpstart renewing your mind. 

The first is our six-week transformational course. There are six weeks of videos for you that take you through your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, all the way through to seeing results. 

There is a guided Christian meditation in there for you guys to check out. It’s completely self-paced, so make sure to check that out. It is available right now. 

The Mindset Reset: 6 Week Self-Paced Course Mindset Reset

And then, the other option that you have is to find out more about 180 Confidence. You can go to ashleyvarner.com/180 to check that out. 

Get on the Waitlist of 180Confidence180Confidence Waitlist

This is going to be an intensive and really exclusive experience for Christian women who are wanting to experience more confidence in their life but truly do the thought work that it takes to walk in God’s confidence every day. This is a six-month mastermind. 

There will be a process of applying for it and I really want to encourage you to check it out. There’s going to be instructional videos but then there’s also going to be live coaching with me so you can check that out and make sure that if this is something that you really struggle with, I don’t want you to go another year with living with a lack of confidence. 

Confidence is part of your right as a child of God and so if you’re struggling with insecurity or fear or scarcity, all those things are the exact opposite of confidence and I want more for you. 

Like I said, make sure to check those out. But remember, as you are taking your thoughts captive, remember it starts with being aware of your thinking, checking your thoughts against God’s word and then taking the thoughts that don’t line up captive. I hope that this helped you today. If it did, make sure to like and subscribe and I will see you next time.

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- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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