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Posted 12/22/2020 in Christian Mental Health Tips

HOW TO OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS BIBLICALLY


HOW TO OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS BIBLICALLY

Bible Verse for How to overcome negative thoughts Biblically and bible verse about negative thoughts

You are probably reading this because you are looking for a good article on how to overcome negative thoughts biblically, how to deal with bad thoughts as a Christian or how do deal with negative self talk. Which means you probably had a negative thought or negative self talk sneak into your mind out of nowhere. Like a completely random thought about yourself or someone else that you wish you didn't have. Or how about a thought that is just not helpful. . . the type of thought that keeps you distracted or stuck instead of moving towards the life God is calling you to live.  

You are not alone, this is commonly called Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT's).  However, I like to call them negative thoughts and/or unhelpful thoughts (NUTs) because sometimes people get caught up in debating whether the thoughts is negative thought or not, instead of taking the thought captive.  

Automatic negative/unhelpful thoughts happens to everyone. Whether we admit it or not, we all have thoughts that don't glorify God, there isn't a single person on this earth exempt from it.

However, the fact that it happens to everyone doesn't make it okay. Negative and unhelpful thoughts are a work of the enemy. They are uninvited, unwanted, and unwarranted thoughts that have no place in our minds. They are lies that we are meant to fight against with truth that comes from the Word of God. The Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, in it is everything we need to overcome the attacks of the enemy. 

God knew that the devil's greatest strategy would be to get in our heads, just like he did with Eve, and then tried with Jesus. That's why God had His Word written, that's why He ensures it keeps being written in every language, through every century. Those who know His Word, know when their mind is under attack and are equipped enough to fight.

There is nothing on earth that impacts our lives more than our thoughts, still, the enemy has enough power to influence them. That's why every thought that crosses our mind must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ. If it doesn't align with the Word it's not valid.

How to Overcome Negative Thoughts as a Christian & how to get rid of negative thoughts spirituallyPin It 

What Does God Say About Bad Thoughts?

God has a lot to say about bad thoughts in the Bible. Check out the below Bible verses on negative thoughts.  

  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

  • For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

  • Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Proverbs 28:26

  • Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Although reading God's Word is the best way to combat thoughts that don't honor God, there are other ways as well. 

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Common Examples of Negative Thinking

But before we fight our negative thoughts, we will have to identify them. Here are some of the most common types of NUT's we face daily:

  • “All-or-none” Thinking - Seeing things as all good or all bad, there is no in-between. It's either black or white, with no shades of gray.

  • Blame - Blaming someone else for all of your problems.

  • Discounting Positives - is discarding any positive evidence that may contradict your negative and/or unhelpful thinking. 

  • Emotional Reasoning - Treating feelings as facts. Believing our negative feelings without ever questioning them.

  • Filtering - Seeing everything through a lens of negativity while screening out anything positive.

  • Fortune-telling - is believing bad things will happen in the future.

  • Labeling - when you apply a negative name to yourself or someone else

  • Magnification or Minimization - Your mind magnifies the awfulness of unpleasant events and minimizes the value and importance of anything positive.

  • Mind Reading - Assuming you know what others are thinking without asking them or checking it out.

  • "Overgeneralized" Thinking -  is taking an individual negative event and allowing it to represent a general unrelenting trend.

  • Should Statements - Your thinking include the words "should," "should't," "must," "ought" and "have to" to criticize yourself or other people.  



 

5 Questions to Help You Take Thoughts Captive

It is usually very easy to figure out if our thoughts fit into one of the NUTs types above. However, thoughts can be confusing, and sometimes it's not that easy to identify. In this case, take the thought captive and assess it with these 5 questions:

1. Is it true?

2. What does the Bible say about it?

3. Does it motivate me to reach my goals?

4. How do I react every time I think about it?

5. How would I feel, who would I be and where would I be without this thought?

The Best Techniques to Overcome negative thinking Biblically

As soon as you've answered those questions, you would know for sure whether it is a negative and/or unhelpful thought or not. If it is, don't worry, you are well equipped to combat the thought. While there are ways to eliminate negative thinking that are not biblically based (check out these seven exercises to eliminate negative thinking), the below techniques are all Bible based.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Reading The Bible Daily

Daily Bible Reading is a key part of overcoming negativity in any area of your life, including your mind. The battle for your mind is a spiritual battle.  Therefore, you will need spiritual weapons. The only offensive weapon you have as a Christian is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

bible verse about negative thoughts quotesLike this content on Facebook When you read the Bible daily, the Holy Spirit will provide you with the right Bible verses at the right time to fight negative thoughts.


Reading the Bible daily will also help you discern whether or not our thoughts are from God. Godly thoughts will ALWAYS line up with Scripture.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Write Your Thoughts Down

"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book" ~ Jeremiah 30:2

God previously command Jeremiah to write the word that God down. When our thought are in our head it is harder to discern if it is from God or not. Therefore, write the thought down along with its type. Writing thoughts down is a great way to free your mind from negative thinking and overthinking.

Also, sometimes things seem so much scarier in our heads than it is in reality.  After writing it down, you will be able to take further steps and eventually get rid of the thought completely.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Override Your Negative and/or Unhelpful Thoughts By Talking Back To It.

One of the weapons of spiritual warfare is the sword of the Spirit. The Word of God is alive, active, and powerful in the battleground of our minds. Therefore, it is important to stand on God's truth. For example,

  • If your NUTs says you're ugly. You say "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14)

  • If your NUTs says you can't do it. You say "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Phil 4:13)

  • If your NUTs says you aren't loved. You say "Nothing can separate me from God's love." (Rom 8:39)

  • And if your NUTs says you're all alone. You say "He will never leave me nor forsake me." (Heb 13:5)

There is nothing your NUTs can say that God's Word can't conquer.  Override the lies of the enemy with the truth of God's Word, and every time it comes back do the same. Jesus taught us this technique when He was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

Never stop talking back to it. Eventually, it will leave forever. NUT's stand no chance against the truth of God's Word.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Wear a Positivity Trigger

After you've identified the thoughts you struggle with, wear something with words that counter them. For example, if you regularly find yourself thinking you are unloved get a wristband that says "loved."

Since our phones are almost always with us, use either a phone wall paper or phone case that has a positivity trigger on it is a great ides. This will help trigger positive thoughts whenever the negative ones enter.

Also, having a positivity trigger will help you remember to combat your negative thoughts. One of the biggest lessons I learned when reading the story of Moses and the Israelites is that we are prone to forget. This is why you can find God telling over and over again to remember.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Shifting Your focus

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

If you find yourself thinking about something negative and can not do any of the above, shift your focus. Sometimes you're going to have to dig into the Word to find a counter to an NUT. In this case, since you don’t have a counter, you’ll need to shift your focus. 

Pray, exercise, take a walk or think about something completely opposite. Just find something else to do, something that will take your mind off the thought. Thinking too much about it can lead to anxiety and depression and this is not what God wants for His child.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Communicate

The Bible says a lot about the importance of communicating. Talking to someone about your thoughts is so important. Whether it's your spouse, your best friend, or your therapist, communication is crucial. 

By talking to someone else, you will be able to get a different opinion and perspective on your thoughts. This will have a massive impact on combating your negative thoughts.

Overcome Negative Thoughts By Focusing on Gratitude

The Bible encourages us to cultivate thankfulness in Philippians 4:6-7 when it declares "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Emphasis added

The devil has a sly way of making us miss what we don't have rather than appreciating what we do have. That's why Eve ate the apple, she was led to believe that things could be better than it was but it was a lie. God never withheld any good thing from her, she had everything she needed to lead a happy and fulfilled life and you do too.



Digging Deeper into Your Negative Thoughts

While the purpose of this article was to help you overcome negative thoughts, I would be doing you a disservice if I did not tell your negative thinking also has a purpose. If you would like to learn more about the purpose of your negative thoughts and how they can be used for a greater good, please hope over a read this article.

You can also take a deep dive into how your thoughts effects your life by check out the below book recommendations: 

No matter how much that voice in your head lies to you, it can never change the truth.  If you are interested in taking a deep dive into how your thoughts effects your life, check out the below book recommendations: 
         

It Is Well: A Christian Guided Journal:It Is Well: A Christian Guided Journal:It Is Well: A Christian Guided Journal:You Are What You ThinkYou Are What You ThinkYou Are What You ThinkChange Your Thoughts, Change Your LifeChange Your Thoughts, Change Your LifeChange Your Thoughts, Change Your LifeFeeling Good: The New Mood TherapyFeeling Good: The New Mood TherapyFeeling Good: The New Mood TherapyFeeling GreatFeeling GreatFeeling Great

If you try the above techniques and find that you are still struggling with negative thinking, you may benefit from seeking the help of a good Christian mental health professional. We have cultivated a directory of Christian therapist here.


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About the Author: 
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Description automatically generated with medium confidenceCorine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here:  https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

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