How To Fight Negative Self-Talk And Sinful Thoughts
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, NIV)
I don’t know about you all, but my thoughts need to be taken captive sometimes. I’ve been working on staying silent, but the words 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.
This verse gives me a plan to combat both. When dealing with arguments, 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 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 us to doubt our faith, God’s goodness, or ourselves. We have to take these arguments and compare them to the truths found in scripture.
When we are consistently hearing the same argument, we should 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. Send me an email or post a comment, I’d love to offer some verses.) Here’s an example from my life. I have a hunch you might struggle with it, too.
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 you aren’t good enough. Not only are you good enough, but He will provide you with all you 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 our thoughts threaten to lash out at someone else? We’re holding them in, but they’re still rumbling around. The more they rumble, the louder they get.
Although we haven’t spoken them aloud, these thoughts are still sinful. We 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 you 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 you want to scream it at the top of your lungs, lock it up. Make it obedient to Christ, who would not want you 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, you can speak it peacefully to your husband (who, by the way, cannot see the to-do list in your head you’re 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 you released the original thought into words, your husband likely would have been offended, defensive, and confused by your nasty attitude. But after taking the thought captive and then releasing words obedient to Christ, you just might get some help from a willing husband, which is exactly what you want and need.
This process is hard. It takes practice. Memorizing this verse, though, is the beginning.