Matthew 4:1-11 tells about the devil tempting Jesus when He was in the wilderness for 40 days. During that time, Jesus went without food. The devil knew He was weak, and he tempted Jesus to turn from God. With each attack from the devil, Jesus responded with the Word of God. Even though He went without physical sustenance for 40 days, He survived and thrived spiritually. Because Jesus spent time with His Father, He knew the truth. He was prepared for this temptation.
We can’t live in freedom if we constantly allow our toxic thoughts to monopolize our thinking. The best way to battle them is by applying Scripture, because that will strengthen us in our own battle. We must gear up ahead of time and not try to do this once we’re in the battle. Soldiers don’t look for their weapons when the bullets are flying. They are prepared—ahead of time and at all times.
So, let’s prepare ourselves by putting our minds to the test and choosing to capture toxic thoughts instead of entertaining them. And once we do that, we end that lie that has held us hostage by declaring God’s truth. This is how we live free of toxic thoughts.
But it is also true that if we will fix our thoughts on Jesus and live our lives to honor Him, the need for having to test and capture our thoughts will decrease. The author of The Message paraphrase encourages us at the end of Philippians 4:8 to fill our minds with “the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
We must continually be filling our minds with things that bring life. We must look for the good. For when we do, we’ll find it.