Institute in Basic Life Principles

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How can I overcome negative thought patterns?

Take Your Thoughts Captive
learning to think thoughts of truth

As followers of God, our spiritual journey involves learning to bring our thoughts under the control of God in obedience to Jesus Christ.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:4–5).

Along with wrong thoughts comes the temptation to think independently of God, to resist submitting your thoughts to His control. Don’t shut the door on God’s involvement. Turn your thoughts into discussions with God!

  • Consider each thought in light of God’s Word.

    Man’s ideas are different than God’s ideas. (See Isaiah 55:8–9.) Ask God for discernment to see issues from His perspective.

  • Claim the specific principles and promises of God’s Word.

    Find Scripture passages that address the particular issue you are facing. Is there a Biblical character who experienced a similar situation? Consider what you can learn from that illustration.

  • Respond to wrong thoughts with a specific Scripture.

    In the account of Jesus’ temptation in Matthew 4:1–11, we learn how to respond to Satan’s temptations with the power of the Word of God. Follow Jesus’ example and use a specific passage to counter wrong thoughts.

  • Focus your thoughts on Biblical truth.

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

For Further Study

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