Updated: May 9, 2020
Have you ever wrestled with your thought life? Like just have seasons of crazy and negative things take up residence in your mind?
One verse in Scripture that encourages us against negative thinking is found in one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. “We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
How do we even do that? Is there a net I can just put over my head to literally strain out the bad thoughts? Well, not exactly.
Having a negative thought or two (or more) is expected. We have millions of things fighting for our attention and planting thoughts in our heads each and every day. The real question is what do we do when those thoughts enter our minds.
Answer: FIGHT BACK!!!
Passive and progress do not go together. If you want to overcome what is coming against you, you need to be active and fight back. To take anything captive, you have to first take action. The negative thoughts and false beliefs coming at you aren’t being passive. The lies floating around your mind aren’t taking a “slow and steady” approach with you. I know at times it feels like there’s just one bad thought after another, and each one stronger than before. That’s because it’s true!
Passive and Progress do not go together.
If you’re feeling attacked then FIGHT BACK. The battlefield is truly in the mind. And like any battlefield, you need to be diligent to fight back against the enemy. In Ephesians, Paul tells us that our weapons against these thoughts are not in the flesh, but are from a divine source, i.e. the power of God through the Holy Spirit. This means we depend on His strength to cast out those negative thoughts and false beliefs.
What the losing battle looks like: A thought comes to our mind and we dwell on why we’re having that thought, what the thought means, the guilt from having that thought, or we feed into it and believe it. We worry and then more thoughts get added to it. Then after struggling all day long this way, before we go to bed we say a quick prayer, read a verse, then drift off to sleep.
How can you expect to win a battle when the only time you show up to fight is for 10 minutes at the end of the day after your enemy has spent all day setting fire to your village??? Or maybe you choose to do your fighting first thing in the morning. Either way, during the actual battle you were standing aside and letting those thoughts and false beliefs rule you.
Now, do not think that I’ve mastered this myself. Not at all! I, like you, have to deal with crazy things that pop into my mind. Just the other day, I had the idea to be mad at my husband.
Why I don’t know, but the thought that I should just be mean to him was attacking my mind. I know God doesn’t want strife and conflict in my marriage, so I quickly had to fill my mind with other thoughts. I could not just let that thought sit there, I had to fight back against it. With God’s perfect strength and His authority, that thought was taken captive and thrown out of my mind.
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” – Philippians 4:8
Talk back! Sounds crazy, but those negative thoughts have no problem telling you crazy things, so talk back to them. If you hear a voice say how weak you are you talk back and say “in my weakness His strength is perfect”. You aren’t just talking back with your words, but with God’s word! When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He responded with “It is written…” He relied on the word of God to be His weapon against satan’s crazy temptations. Say it out loud if you have to. Tell those negative thoughts they have to submit to Christ! But don’t passively dwell on them and hope they’ll eventually leave.
Prayer! Regardless of the situation, prayer is always a good answer! Call out to God and focus yourself on Him. Ask for His help and guidance. Ask Him to give you truth to replace that false belief. Don’t wait until you get home at night or think you can only speak to Him in the morning. But our entire lives are to be built upon prayer. Pray when you’re walking to the car, in the car, about to get out of the car, walking to your workplace, at your workplace, and so on. If you need to step away and take a walk, make it a prayer walk. Use your lunch break as prayer time other than checking Facebook. Those thoughts don’t give you a schedule to follow, but come when they want, so why not constantly be ready to do battle?
Action! Negative thoughts typically keep us from doing something, especially things God has told us to do. If those thoughts claim you could never be used by God, then actively seek out ways to serve Him. If you are dwelling on singleness, get busy doing something impactful, only a person that is single can do. Whatever it is, let your actions match the words you fight with (see point #1).
*I in no way am a warfare expert, I just know what has worked for me and others that I know. Through prayer and quiet time with God, He will show you what works best for you.