Demolishing arguments of negative self-talk and taking sinful thoughts captive
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5
I don’t know about you all, but my thoughts, they need to be taken captive sometimes. My struggle is in my head. I have trained my tongue; I am pretty good about biting it. But the words that I work so hard to keep inside, they’re still there. They still roll around inside me stirring up a storm of fear, anger, and pain.
There are two types of thoughts that threaten me daily: arguments of negative self-talk and sinful thoughts toward others.
2 Corinthians 10:5 gives me a plan to combat both. When dealing with arguments of negative self-talk, we must test them against the truth of God’s word. If they are found lacking when compared to God’s truths and promises, then let them be demolished. The second type, sinful thoughts, require us to hold them captive until they are obedient to Christ and reflect His love and grace.
The plan in this verse is clear, but executing it is difficult and requires a concentrated effort.
Let me share a couple of ways to apply this verse when the arguments and thoughts in our heads need to be demolished or taken captive.
The arguments of negative self-talk can cause me to doubt my faith, God’s goodness, or myself. I have to take these arguments and compare them to the truths found in scripture. When I am consistently hearing the same argument, I search out Bible verses to help decide whether the argument stands against or with God’s word. (Can’t think of any verses connected to the argument you’re facing? Ask a friend for ideas, maybe a pastor, or even Google it.)
Argument: I am not good enough.
Set up against the knowledge of God: God will “...equip you with everything good that you may do his will…” (Hebrews 13:21).
Demolished: God’s truth demolishes the argument that I am not good enough. Not only am I good enough, but He will provide me with all I need to serve Him.
New argument: I am good enough because God has equipped me. I can do what He asks of me, not by my strength, but by His.
This argument stands strong WITH the knowledge of God because it is based on Biblical truth.
But what happens when the thoughts in my head are lashing out at someone else. I'm holding them in, but they’re still rumbling around. The more they rumble, the louder they get. Although I haven’t spoken them aloud, these thoughts are still sinful. I must capture them and make them obedient to Christ.
Thought: It must be nice to sit down, relax, and watch TV. (Lathered with sarcasm as I run around the house doing dishes, moving laundry from the washer to the dryer to baskets, and picking up toys.)
Take it captive: As much as I want to scream it at the top of my lungs, lock it up. Make it obedient to Christ, who would not want me lashing out in anger. Take that thought and consider how to rephrase it and release the sarcasm and resentment so that it honors God, making it obedient to Christ. Then, instead of having it rumble around inside, I can speak it peacefully to my husband (who, by the way, cannot see the to-do list in my head that I'm working so hard to finish).
Make it obedient to Christ: Hey, hon, do you think you could help me out by loading the dishwasher?
Do you see the difference? Had I released the original thought into words, my husband likely would have been offended, defensive, and wondered why I was in such a bad mood.
But after taking the thought captive and then releasing words obedient to Christ, I just might get some help from a willing husband, which is exactly what I want and need.
This process is hard. It takes practice. Memorizing this verse, though, is the beginning for me. Storing this verse in my heart will help me become aware of the arguments that are building walls and the thoughts needing to be locked away. Only then can I work on demolishing and taking them captive.