Identifying and dealing with negative thought patterns seems like an easy task. Most of our current practices today have been shaped by a collection of experiences and habits from our childhood. As a result of these repetitive patterns, negative thinking might have become an unconscious second nature. That is the reason why breaking and stopping these patterns is an arduous task. However, the bible gives us a great outline of how we can muster and capture every thought and imagination to make it obedient to Christ. We will look through God’s better plan, which will enable us to fix our thoughts on godliness.
Worldly thinking always leads to sin. David’sDavid’s decision to forfeit going to battle allowed his thoughts the opportunity to take hold of him. And when he saw Bathsheba taking a bath, he only realized the mess he got into many days later (2 Samuel 11). As a result of unbridled passion, the king of Israel sentenced the husband of an innocent woman to death. In his book The Invisible War, Donald Grey writes about the battle of the mind. It is unrelenting. It is a battle for our minds, and it is vicious. It is not fair because the enemy does not play fair. Because your mind is your greatest asset, Satan will not give up the fight yet.
- It is not a battle of the flesh.
There are a lot of cases of depression and mental issues nowadays. I have seen people who have been unable to hear the voice of God because of broken minds. Many people are unable to hold down their purpose and endure hardships because of ungodly thoughts. Some have been led into committing suicide, while others have resulted in drugs addiction, alcohol, and slothfulness. Whose fault is it? Should we blame our school systems or our upbringing? We are looking for the culprit in the wrong place.
Paul writes to the Corinthian church on the subject of battling an invisible enemy.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
- Taking Every Thought Captive
The Corinthian church was set in a busy township with people from diverse backgrounds. Today, it was almost what we refer to as a “melting pot” of different cultures. This beautiful diversity came with the challenge of not walking in the flesh. Then Paul writes to remind them that their job in the battle is to destroy strongholds and imaginations. The strongholds of worry, pride, low self-esteem, bad attitude are all centered around our minds. It is our responsibility to tear them down.
Once you pinpoint the lie you are believing, note it down. Then pick up a bible verse and use the knowledge of God’sGod’s word to fight the enemy’s lie. Taking the thought captive means bringing it to submission and making it obedient to Christ. Our mind is, often if not many times, predisposed to disobedience. Have you realized that when you want to meditate on God’sGod’s word, it wanders away? When we want to pray, our thoughts float into other things. We are only able to take our thoughts down by solely depending on God’sGod’s grace. The grace of God can teach and enable us to refuse all kinds of ungodly things, including ungodly thoughts.
Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Do not be among the many believers today who are unable to battle ungodly thought patterns. God’sGod’s grace is available to you too.
- Do not believe everything you think.
A story is told of a man who visited a zoo with his children. He was terrified of snakes, and he hated every moment the kids wanted to go to that section in the zoo. While observing an African puff adder, his youngest reached out to the screen to touch the snake one day. While he pulled him away, he felt a sharp sting on his legs. The man lay down foaming from the mouth, and they quickly called a doctor. When the doctor came, he quickly noted the man had been pinched by the zoo wire mesh and not the snake. But because the man believed otherwise, his body reacted to the thought of being bitten.
When we think that we are cold, our body reacts and starts feeling cold. We are wired to trust our inner instincts. It is not every thought originating from our minds that is true. Jeremiah, while preaching to Israel, highlighted that our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We cannot live our lives by the dictates of our hearts only. For this reason, we must teach our minds our identity in Christ. We must believe what God says of us over what we think of ourselves.
Haven’tHaven’t you read the stories of many heroes of faith in the bible? Their first excuses were the smallness of their size and family was. Gideon looked at his family, Zechariah looked at his age, Moses looked at his ability to speak, Sarah looked at her age, while David was even forgotten by his own father when the prophet came. Choose not to believe everything you think
- Learn to Live in fear of God
The bible says that “by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6). The aspect of properly walking in fear of God is when we live our lives with the knowe=ledge that God is a present witness. He is constantly weighing and watching every word we say, actions, thoughts, and attitude. And one day, we will stand before Him to give an account for the decisions we make today. A wise individual is hungry for the truth while the foolish one hunts for garbage (Proverbs 15:4).
When believers decide to walk in fear of God truthfully, they can blot out the noise of ungodly thoughts. Ananias and Sapphira were members of the early church. With the great testimonies of people handing over their possessions to further the gospel, this couple was inspired into action (Acts 5). However, when the time to deliver the amount they had sold their plot of land came, they entertained ungodly thoughts. Because of their inability to live in fear of God, they both died a few days later. God is not a man; He knows our every thought. Let us continually evaluate our thoughts and our intentions while serving to conquer impure thoughts quickly.
- Fix Your thoughts on Jesus
Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth.”
Another way to conquer ungodly thought patterns is to be absorbed with the things around Christ. We see everything through his perspective. Brethren, since you died with Christ, you have also been raised to life through Him. and today, He sits at the right-hand side of God’sGod’s power. We must not only campaign for our salvation but also fix our thoughts on Jesus. When consumed with Jesus, we exchange our worry and anxiety for the peace that he gives when we pray.
This peace is able to guard our hearts and minds against ungodliness. If our hope is only earthly minded we will not enjoy the reward of those who, through faith, trust God to fix their present and future. When Jesus is the epicenter, we will also easily identify the thoughts that do not align with the truth of the word of God. When our affection is defined by what we will gather on earth; houses, lands, and fashion, we will forget that we are nourished from above (Matthew 6:19-20).
- Remove Provisions for defeat.
Romans 13:14 “Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua the Messiah; and don’t waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.” (JCB).
Finally, brethren, clothe yourself with Jesus. Putting him on means the same as when we put on shoes and dress to be seen by others. It is only through the power of Christ that our sin is dealt with. To be clothed with a person also means to assume their interests. To view things through their perspective, imitate his example, and obey his commands.
Yielding to Christ helps us to rely on His strength. It is the way we can deal with sinful thoughts. As you put on the armor of light, through new faith, hope, and love for Christ – no work of darkness can cling to you. Let us live in the way that Christ wants us to live. Your divine countenance will project to others an awareness of God’sGod’s presence.