Week of August 22
Take Every Thought Captive
by Max Lucado
Today’s thoughts are tomorrow’s actions.
Today’s jealousy is tomorrow’s temper tantrum.
Today’s bigotry is tomorrow’s hate crime.
Today’s anger is tomorrow’s abuse.
Today’s lust is tomorrow’s adultery.
Today’s greed is tomorrow’s embezzlement.
Today’s guilt is tomorrow’s fear.
Could that be why Paul writes, “Love … keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5 NIV)?
Some folks don’t know we have an option.
Paul says we do: “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Do you hear some battlefield jargon in that passage—“capture every thought,” “make it give up” and “obey Christ”? You get the impression that we are the soldiers and the thoughts are the enemies.
It was for Jesus. Remember the thoughts that came his way courtesy of the mouth of Peter? Jesus had just prophesied his death, burial, and resurrection, but Peter couldn’t bear the thought of it. “Peter took Jesus aside and told him not to talk like that.… Jesus said to Peter, ‘Go away from me, Satan! You are not helping me! You don’t care about the things of God, but only about the things people think are important’” (Matt. 16:22–23).
See the decisiveness of Jesus?
What if you did that? What if you took every thought captive? What if you took the counsel of Solomon: “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Prov. 4:23).
You are not a victim of your thoughts. You have a vote. You have a voice. You can exercise thought prevention. You can also exercise thought permission.
Change the thoughts, and you change the person. If today’s thoughts are tomorrow’s actions, what happens when we fill our minds with thoughts of God’s love? Will standing beneath the downpour of his grace change the way we feel about others?
Paul says absolutely! It’s not enough to keep the bad stuff out. We’ve got to let the good stuff in. It’s not enough to keep no list of wrongs. We have to cultivate a list of blessings. The same verb Paul uses for keeps in the phrase “keeps no list of wrongs” is used for think in Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (RSV). Thinking conveys the idea of pondering—studying and focusing, allowing what is viewed to have an impact on us.
Rather than store up the sour, store up the sweet.
A Love Worth Giving
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004) Max Lucado
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With a Reader's Guide focusing on:
1. Love Remembered: gleans crucial quotes from the chapter and invites you to reexamine them by answering some probing questions.
2. Love Deepened: uses parallel Scriptures to reinforce and clarify the thrust of the chapter.
3. Love Given: application questions to help you integrate the main focus of each chapter into your life of faith.