2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Picture this -- you come home from a long day of work -- you walk into your living room -- plop down on your couch in exhaustion -- and there in the corner of the room -- your eyes are drawn to something moving -- it's a rattlesnake! Do you say to yourself, "Oh, I'm too tired to worry about that now, I'll deal with it later?" Of course not! You jump up right away, find a bat or something, alert your family, call the neighbors, 911, the fire department, the national guard, and start praying with all your might! It's a life-threatening situation!
Though it may sound extreme, negative thoughts, which are lies, opposed to God's truth and character, should be treated the same way when they enter our minds. We ought to immediately sense their danger and rise to action; take that thought captive and bring it under submission to the truth of God's word. These thoughts are as poisonous to our minds and souls as rattlesnake bites are to our bodies. If we realize that danger, we'll be extremely vigilant to watch what we allow to sneak into our minds and remain there. Thoughts cannot be taken captive until they appear and are recognized. So we need to watch them carefully and consider whether they're good and true or not.
Bad thinking comes in many forms. Dangerous thoughts can be obvious and easily recognized as sinful and evil or destructive, lustful, vengeful, spiteful, and vain; or they can be subtle as snakes, quietly lying in the background like clever rationalizations or spiritual pride. Whatever form they take is dangerous to our spiritual well being, and this word from Paul exhorts us to deal with them on the spot, just as if a snake had entered the house.
Your mind is active and thinking during every waking hour, (and also of course in your dreams). Developing a habit of watchfulness over your thinking is a challenging discipline that will change your life and protect your spiritual house. Knowing the word of God is a tremendous help since the word contains God's thoughts which are the corrective for our bad and wrong thinking. So pay attention! What was that my mind just told me? Is that true and good, blessed and holy...or is it a snake? Respond accordingly...and fast!