About the author, Rick Thomas

Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.  In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and in 1991 he earned a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with a MA in Counseling from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a  Fellow with Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).

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Your Brain on Porn

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

60 thoughts on “How to Take Every Thought Captive: The Battle for Your Mind

  1. Beautiful thought and stated. Helped me a great deal today. I would add I need to see everything the author says, in the other person to come to know myself. Jesus, my constant companion and he who is in charge of miracles, refuses to see what I have too frequently told myself about myself and sees instead what I am, God’s holy child. I am as God created me, notwithstanding my plight to make up a me that does not exist. Thank you for letting me comment.

  2. I just want to say I’m really happy to have stumbled upon this post. I hope to talk to you somehow Rick Thomas. I dont’ have any readily available access to counciling where I am, but just this post alone was a huge help. Thank God for people like you around. I’ve some very important questions I hope you can answer. Please email me at the address submitted with this post. Please and thanks so much.

  3. phew that was good. The evil forces were biting while I was reading this,they didn’t want me to know this. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  4. I am a survivor of incest, and so many strongholds r trying to destroy my mind. Anger rage unforgiving. Please pray for me.

    • This article his spot on. We must be in a regular community of healthy believers to fight these strong holds. The battle is too much alone. Praying for your release and redemption, Treddie and Madison.

    • Treddie… I will pray for you today along with all the others that God has prompted to pray..The Holy Spirit will show me what to pray for…so do not fear anymore. You are alive right now, because of the testimony that your Life carries…you will share it with many. God Bless. South Africa

    • Treddie – I also pray for you. Every spirit of darkness is bound up in Jesus name. All strongholds broken. You are free in Jesus name. Name above all names. His perfect love casts out all fear.

    • Try taking hold of the thought, then thanking God for delivering you and start praising Him and worshiping for the person he has made you today. And those attacks will flee.

    • This is a very good article/teaching. I’m a witness that trying to live as a people “Pleaser” only leads to finding security in others things rather than God. But glory be to God for His Grace and Mercy that He is right THERE when I get up or turn around. Manifested Blessing be unto you this day.

  5. This was a God send! Just what I needed when I needed it. Have had so many bad things done to me in just 31 years of life. But i wanted so desperately to know how to forgive and move on walking in the peace and liberty that Christ died for us to have. This helps a great deal. Thanks.

  6. Thanks for your post. Just what I needed. This is one of my goals for 2014 to memorize this scripture and make it a part of my every day life !

  7. Thank You for this lesson. I have misunderstood my role as my husbands help mate and this blog has helped me take responsibility for the lie I have believed. God willing, I will meditate on what God has taught me through your insightful post.

  8. This is helpful, and so true, this has to be taken very seriously, because our self talk is a tool used by satan. I, we have to fill our minds with God’s Truth.

    Thank you

  9. I am part of a ministry that is aimed at people in bondage’s. I am the teacher for the teenage girls that come from these families. This is going to such a blessing, thank you!

  10. great stuff, i think that people pleasing tendency is in all of us at varying degrees.It is so amazing to know that if we persevere in God,s truth about who we really are that we can be free from the terrible snare of peolple pleasing I know this because god has been and continues to free me from it as i memorise and use the scriptures to speak to myself, especially when i blunder.Treddie you are powerful, sanctified,preciuos, bold, worthy, valuable, treasured , important, victorious.You have already won keep your eyes on jesus the author and finisher of your faith.He is closest to the broken hearted

  11. Wow! I can relate to Madison. I am 63 years old and I couln’t understand why it has been so hard for me to move forward to be successful in life as God wants me to be. About 7 years ago I realized
    the battle was in my mind but I just prayed; still didn’t know what to do so I became sad felted like I was loosing ground, like God was not hearing me, like he stopped loving me! People are influenced by my life yet I feel like a liar. Like I let God down. I tried to commit suicide as a young adult; the dr. told my parents I felt I let them down because of a mistake I made, because I felt I had to be perfect. I thought those thoughts were gone but as I continue to live for Christ I see my mind is still in a spiritual warfare and your article has helped me to rethink the problem. Thank you, may God continue to use you in His service!

  12. Thank you Rick.. I typed “take every thought captive” in google and stumbled upon this post. I too can relate to Madison. The reason why I can’t commit to the music ministry in my church is because of “people bondage”. I know the call HE has for me but I fear failing and not being good enough. Please pray for me and God bless you.

  13. For the past year someone close to me, a believer in Christ, started having psychosis, and hearing voices that were tormenting him. I text him scriptures and encourage him to guard his thoughts and bring every thought captive to the obedoence of Christ. Philippians 4:7 and 2 corinthians 10:5. and others. He is now ordered by the court to take powerful anti psychotics which he is fighting. I just told him God’s favor was turning things around in his favor, like Joseph. Please pray for him. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

    • I realize that over six months have elapsed since your comment, but want to let you know I just stumbled on this site and prayed earnestly for your friend. I do hope he is doing better. I too was court ordered to take these strong anti-psychotics; it was not a pleasant time. And I fought it and lost three out of four times. They (the drugs) helped in ways. My situation was somewhat different but what I learned was in part that I was being rebellious to God by fighting so vehemently the court orders that made it law in my province that I take medication; the same officials and government structures that God instituted to govern the land. I am drug free today but it has been a very long haul and difficult path.

      I will continue to pray that he gets complete victory.

  14. I was on my way to work as I was driving I said a prayer then I turned on the radio for a bit then thought i would turn it off to be silent for God. But the first thing that came to my mind was this awful thought that I was going to die today. Is this the work of the Devil distracting me from God? Because it has certainly been on my mind all day.

  15. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a while ago. I sometimes hear voices. I sometimes think God is distant too but but I sometimes quote scripture and talk about the bible to some peoples annoyance.

  16. I have a believe that this was not written by you but the spirit of God does. this look like light in the darkness. Great tool to win the battle.

  17. This is wonderful information. I work as a counselor and help people with thoughts like these all day. However, as someone who has struggled with depression, anxiety and people-pleasing, I have to be vigilant about these thoughts recurring in my own mind. I have to renew my mind daily as well. Praise God for His word and His grace!

  18. Thank you for your post. It’s a great encouragement for me today. I will keep standing on God’s holy and living word until I see the light of the new day dawning. Thank you and blessings to you.

  19. Thank you Rick for the reminder that we are wrestling against pricipalities and powers that wage war in our minds. Jesus has put theses powers under His feet! praise God. Our job is to take our thoughts captive and stand on God’s promises. I could really relate to Madison and her need to please others, it’s a struggle sometimes. Your article came at the perfect time as I recognised that the thoughts I had in my mind (after I had an argument with my husband) were quite negative and lies of the enemy such as “he doesn’t respect you….” I had to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in God’s truth. I came across your article at this time. You are a blessing Rick! Keep up the great work!

  20. This is an excellent article and I much appreciate it. I have a question though and perhaps I missed it in the reading. I know we are to take our thoughts captive to Christ, but exactly, how do you do this. I read Scripture and am memorizing and reciting God’s Word back to myself. When i come up against thinking, thoughts or behavior and realize things are off, how do you actually take them captive. I sometimes mentally picture collecting them (my way to capture) in a garbage bag and dumping them at the foot of the cross.When I notice my brain spinning off, I pray, and come against them with the Truth of God’s Word. Beyond that, not sure where to go on the taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. I somehow feel I am missing something sometimes as I continue to struggle so often. I am gaining ground again. Agh! In part, I think I know what I need to do to gain victory in a certain area of my life. It requires me to stop running and turn to face it head on. Stand firm when all I want to do is run and avoid. Sigh! Enough said.

    • Hey there. I think the methods you’re describing are really good! It takes a long time to change your mind, and you have to keep doing the right things over and over over.

      Some people find that journaling 20 minutes each day is also helpful, as you allow yourself to put the thoughts down and then you can tell yourself throughout the day, I already dealt with this.

      I think it sometimes can help to PHYSICALLY do what you’re mentally doing right now. You could try to write the thoughts down, then take the papers away and burn them.

      You might also find that exercise can be helpful, or hobbies that engage your mind in other ways–puzzles, games, photography, drawing, reading, etc.

      Having said that, sometimes we do have chemical processes that interfere with thought-stopping. Anxiety disorders–like obsessive-compulsive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder–can include intrusive thoughts that you just can’t get rid of, no matter how hard you try. If you think that you’re experiencing something like this, especially if your thoughts are troubling you a lot and you find yourself having difficulty functioning as a result of the intrusive thoughts, then it’s time to talk to a doctor about medical interventions.

      Blessings, Kay

    • Lauriebeee – exactly what I struggle with. How DO you do this? I also struggle with ‘giving it to jesus’. What does that mean? HOW do you give a problem to jesus? What does that look like practically?

    • What a great question!!! Yes! We so often quote those Bible words “take every thought captive”–and then…. How do you DO it in practical terms?

      The problem is, most of us have been pretty well trained to ignore what we think! For example. We “know” the Bible says that God loves us, so we just parrot that in our heads–BUT, we may not actually experience that truth in our hearts. And, if that doubt ever comes up, we shove it away with all kinds of rationalizations and spiritualizations and busy-ness and denial, so that we don’t have to actually deal with what we actually believe. We don’t take our thoughts captive–we just shove them away.

      I think the way you can tell if you’re living with a lot of lies is a lack of peace in your own life. You’ll have lots of anxiety and striving and need for approval. You’ll struggle with bad habits and you’ll obsess about those bad habits and feel a lot of shame about them. You’ll have turmoil in your close relationships, or just a lack of closeness. You’ll be worried about whether people like you enough. You’ll need to do a bunch of STUFF all the time to keep the lid from flying off Pandora’s Box and wrecking your life.

      So. I think you have to stop being in control of all that, and let your life be wrecked if need be.

      Practically speaking, I’d go to a group like Celebrate Recovery, where people are all about giving up control and letting Jesus take the wheel. Then you’d open your mouth and tell the truth about the struggles you’re having, and let people love and care about you even when you aren’t perfect. Because that’s what Jesus does, and He’s left us here with the Body of Christ so we can experience love together.

      And then you see what happens next. Lots of times, redemption.

      And I’d read some books by Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen, and maybe even Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies.

      Let me know what you think! Kay

  21. Absolutely amazing. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou. I am that madison in your story. Thankyou for opening my eyes and helping to now take God’s truths as weapons. God bless. Very much needed when waring against legalistic/law following rules.

  22. I’m in tears right now, this is something I started meditating about my life and this post has blessed me so much! I’ve been bombarded by insecurities In my marriage! But I’m so grateful I found this. Thank you so much..

  23. Awesome article!! There is a book out by Joyce Meyers called “Battlefield of the Mind”. It goes into detail on how to take thoughts captive and pull down strongholds by the Power of Jesus Christ and his spirit living within you. I can tell you I like so many others have been dealing with strongholds and Lies that had me thinking I’m going crazy or that God had abandoned me, and that I was just messed up misfit etc. I had severe anxiety that hit me and felt hopeless. I can tell you that if you are in that situation you can be set free immediately but in my case it has been a progressive process of taking thoughts captive and measuring them against the TRUTH of Gods word. He has set me free of PORN and immoral thoughts, restored my marriage, and is continuing to bring me out of all sorts of mental strongholds that have tried to bind me and keep me from living in freedom and Victory. Be encouraged that God Loves you even when you don’t feel it or think he used to but not anymore. I am still a work in progress but I rejoice when I think of what he has done for me and that he will NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU!!
    Love always

  24. Thanks so much for this write up. It is a blessing to me. I had the characteristics of Madison but since I’ve repented and left myself for Christ to take control, I have been a changed person with different reasoning. This time around, whenever an evil thought or desire comes to my mind or wants to evade my mind. I remind myself that that my body is the temple of God and then I say “the Lord rebuke you evil thought” then I start forcing myself to think of good and positive things and after that I say a prayer I was taught in Elementary school back home in my country in Africa. The prayer goes….. God be in my head and in my understanding, God be in my eyes and in my looking, God be in my mouth and in my speaking, God be in my heart and in my thinking, God be at my end and at my departing. Thanks again for this amazing post. I bookmarked it. God bless you Rick!

  25. As we are working through this as a couple, a question came up…..is it possible that once one has seen victory in porn addiction (with God’s help) that the brain “wiring” has led that person to another addiction such as alcohol, food, etc. Can you address this?

    • I’m not sure what you mean by the brain wiring leading that person in another direction. Brain wiring is shaped by behavior and beliefs, so if a person starts to replace the buzz he/she gets from porn with another buzz, there most certainly can be a new addiction that crops up.

  26. Good stuff. Would love to read more about the “how” as opposed to the “why.” In Buddhism, they have meditation as a way to gain control of runaway, unwanted thoughts. An increase in awareness and mindfulness help this process. Is such a process conducive to a Christian?

  27. I am very grateful for this article…. Because I am a survivor of incest which led me to falling into other sins like masturbation lust and porn that has held me bound for so long …and since then I have been men pleaser even if I lie to myself about this…. I appear strong but deep down I am weak, struggling and I’m lost… I’ve been trying to get my identity in Christ… I know the Scripture but I’ve not truly experienced it and I’m longing for it… I am now hard hearted, no love and I’m struggling to go by each day… Please pray for me… I really need to experience divine manifestation in my life

    • Hi there. I am so, so sorry for the pain you’ve been through. I hope you’ve got a good counselor to help you heal from the abuse. I would suggest finding a counselor who has experience helping incest survivors. I think you’re right that the experience of what you know to be true is exactly the next step for healing,and so many many times this is exactly what an experienced counselor can help you work toward. Peace to you, Kay

  28. I have to say this was a bit disappointing. The title was “how to take every thought captive, the battle for your mind’. Instead it should have been titled “the spiritual battle for your mind”. Where is the meat? What scriptures do you recommend for the battle?

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