Before we can get controlling thoughts out of our minds, they must become Christ-controlled thoughts while still in our minds. That is what taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ means. This process begins ... as we rewallpaper the mind with truth-specific truth. If we're going to walk out of the prison of controlling thoughts, we are going to have to rewallpaper with God's Word. Please allow me to share a few practices that God used profoundly in renewing my mind and providing subsequent freedom from some strongholds.

1. Search God's Word for Scriptures that speak the mind of God to your specific stronghold. Use a Bible concordance or a topical Bible tool. If you're new to the study of Scripture, ask a pastor or Bible study teacher to help you get started. Whatever it takes, compile a list of scriptures. Don't just look for one or two, and don't just look for those scriptures that rebuke. Also find scriptures that speak God's unfailing love and forgiveness to you.

2. Write these Scriptures on note cards. The best way to keep them compiled is on spiral-bound note cards. I call these my Truth Cards; with them I use Scriptures not only defensively to tear down existing strongholds, but offensively so Satan can't put up new ones.

3. Take these Truth Cards wherever you go until the power of the stronghold is broken. Be prepared to fight for your freedom with some radical choices. Expect the battle to heat up when you start tearing down the lies. In the heat of the battle to be free, I can remember a time when I took my spiral Truth Cards into the grocery store with me! I put them in the baby seat and every aisle or two I flipped to the next card! Our cupboard was filled with the strangest concoction of stuff you've ever seen, but I'm free today!

4. Avoid as many forms of deception as possible. Until you are less vulnerable, flood your mind with truth and with materials that line up with truth. When we're not coming out of a stronghold, we still need to be careful about what we program into our minds, but we must exercise radical caution when we're escaping. God's Word is your truth serum. The more you use it, the clearer your mind will become. ...

Here's a rule of thumb for the thought life that will be a catalyst to victory in all parts of life: starve the flesh and feed the spirit. These phrases were pivotal for me, and I hope they will be to you. For every day that the believer ... practices this principle, victory will be the rule and defeat the exception in her life.

When we do not make the deliberate choice to think according to the Spirit, we "default" to the flesh. You've noticed we never have to choose to be self-centered. I default into self-centeredness automatically unless I deliberately submit to the authority of Christ and the fullness of His free Spirit.

Pray for God to give you a heightened awareness of the way you're thinking. Become alert to times you're thinking according to the flesh. Think about the feeling it is sowing in your heart. I often hear people say, "I can't change the way I feel." No, but we can change the way we think, and that will change the way we feel. Every day and in every situation, we have the invitation to think according to the Spirit or according to the flesh. If we want to think according to the Spirit, however, we have to learn to feed the Spirit and starve the flesh.

The less we feed the Spirit of God within us with things that energize Him to fill us, the more His presence "shrinks" within us. Praise God, the opposite is also true. The more we feed the Spirit of God within us and yield to His control, the more His presence will fill and satiate us with life and peace.

Excerpted from Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life, copyright 2000 by Beth Moore. Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., www.lifewaystores.com, 1-800-448-8032.

Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the world.

Have you been struggling with thoughts that enter your mind even when you don't want to think them? Does your thought life give you peace? How have your thoughts drawn you closer to God, or farther away from Him? If God has renewed your mind recently, what was the experience like for you? Visit Live It's forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.