The more I experience life with Christ, the more I realize the importance of “taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Take, for example, this morning. Today I woke up to the rain and, as usual, began thinking through my day. Classes are the same as usual, and aside from one errand after school, I have nothing going on. Usually the free time is encouraging, but this time I was ambushed by a sense of emptiness. I remember this feeling as a child, when video games were denied and I didn’t feel like playing outside… it’s like boredom, with an added sense of “meaninglessness.” For the briefest second this morning, I asked myself the question, “What’s the point of today?”
I don’t have much experience with deep depression, but I can imagine that this is how it starts… burning feelings of futility and lack of purpose. It’s in those moments like this morning that taking our thoughts captive is of UTMOST importance. When faced with feelings of emptiness of meaninglessness, we have a choice. We can fixate on them, leading to a downward spiral of despair and hopelessness, and then depression, or worse, the belief that our life doesn’t matter at all. On the other hand, we can choose to take them captive and, in the spirit of Paul’s language, interrogate them and reorient them towards Christ. Why do I feel empty? What has been my motivation to live the past few days? Have I been living for the weekend or for free time? Do I live for the chance to play some thoughtless video games at the end of the day? Do I live for simple entertainment? This morning, I realized I had. The only difference was that this time, when I looked forward in my day and saw the free time, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t satisfied… and I wasn’t surprised. By God’s grace, as I got ready for my day, I began to take those thoughts of emptiness and expose them for what they really were, misplaced desires. Today I’m working to “make them obedient,” which means reminding myself where my motivation truly lies, and what I really live for. Lot’s of reading and prayer on my schedule for today, which is a fantastic use of my free time. 🙂
Anger, when entertained, leads to hate, gossip, hurt, and at it’s most extreme, murder. Lust, when entertained, leads to impure thoughts and deeds, and at it’s most extreme, damaging sexual sin. Envy, when entertained, leads to malcontent, crippling jealousy, and contempt. Make the choice to discern your own thoughts. Don’t become captive to them… take them captive in Christ.