Paul tells the church in Corinth to capture every thought and make it obedient to Jesus. Likewise, Proverbs advises us to guard our thoughts. (Some translations say to guard our hearts, putting a different twist on the same concept).
This is often hard to do – but not impossible.
Though I’m still working on it, my solution is to distract myself from wayward thoughts. When I remember to do this, they usually dissipate quickly. My distractions take two forms:
Quote the Bible: The first verse that comes to mind is in James: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This is good advice to follow, but when I cite it, I end up focusing on what I’m trying to escape; it doesn’t help me control my thoughts.
Instead, my go to verse is from Revelation: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” This passage places my focus on God, praising him, worshiping him, and acknowledging his eternal existence.” The enemy doesn’t like that.
I end up reciting this verse just about every day, often multiple times.
Pray: Another way I distract myself from wrong thinking is to pray. The enemy doesn’t like that either. However, I don’t pray that I’ll stop thinking wrong thoughts or for strength to hold them captive; that also focuses my attention on what I’m trying to escape. Instead I pray for someone else.
Just as I have one predetermined verse, I have one predetermined person who I will automatically pray for when wrong thoughts beckon. This keeps me from wasting time, trying to determine who I should pray for and gets me to the praying part quickly.
Capturing every thought and subjecting it to Jesus is usually quite easy when I remember to cite scripture or pray. The key is remembering to do so.