Taking Thoughts Captive

2 Corinthians 10:5 – …take every thought captive to obey Christ…

This contains excerpts from the new book “Real Romance: Sex in the Song of Songs”. To purchase the book, click here, and to access the sermon series that accompanies these devos and this book, click here. 

At this point in the Song of Songs story, Solomon and Abbi have reunited after their fight and returned home, and they are trying to figure out how to repent of their sin and forgive the sin of their spouse. Things have calmed down, and they are no longer back-to-back but instead sitting down face-to-face to reconcile their relationship.

Emerging brain science is finding that we actually have distinct parts in our brains (1). When we are feeling emotional, unsafe, anxious, upset, or hurt, we process what we are thinking and feeling in a part of the brain that is more reactive than reflective and more emotional than reasonable. This part of the brain makes us act like children for a time and produces reactions the Bible negatively refers to as “the flesh”. In our flesh, the enemy takes weakness and inputs lies, division, and opposing desires to the unity God has for our marriages.

The other part of the brain is more the adult part. For a couple to work through a contentious issue, it is commonly said there must be at least one adult in the room, which is now being proven by brain science. This separate part of the brain processes information more accurately and reasonably, has empathy to see the other person’s side, and is more reflective, contemplative, and logical. This part of the brain is also more reasonable and spiritual.

When we have a conflict, as Solomon and Abbi did, we tend to start in the front brain, which contributes to a harsh startup of the conversation. When the Bible talks about renewing our minds (2) and taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ (3), it is actually working from another part of our brain than the one we operated in when acting childish. Instead of believing everything we think or feel is true, we bring it before the Lord.

A helpful tool in taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ comes from Marcus Warner’s book Understanding the Wounded Heart. In it, he explains there are four C’s: confess, cancel, command, and commit. (4) Start by confessing any lies you are believing about God, yourself, or your spouse. In the name of Jesus, cancel these lies and any foothold they have been given, and command the demonic spirits responsible to leave and take all their works and effects with them. Finally, commit yourself to truth and what the Word of God says, and invite the Holy Spirit to empower you for life in the truth. If you follow this process regularly as you detect lies and spiritual warfare, then you can keep short accounts and bring peace, unity, and healing into your marriage relationship.

How can the “four C’s” help you this week in lies you’ve believed about God, yourself, or your spouse? Practice this with the Lord and/or with your spouse this week.

(1) “Brain Anatomy and How the Brain Works,” Johns Hopkins Medicine, July 14, 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/anatomy-of-the-brain.

(2) Romans 12:2

(3) 2 Corinthians 12:5

(4) Adapted from Pastor Karl Payne’s book Spiritual Warfare