Monday Motivation

Taking Every Thought Captive

I am worthless. I am unlovable. I am a failure. I have no purpose. I am inadequate. These statements are a few of the most common negative core beliefs that we as humans believe about ourselves and that counselors encounter when working with individuals in counseling. I know this to be true both in my own humanity and in my work as a part time clinical mental health counselor. Not one of us is immune to the reality of having negative thoughts or the temptation of falling captive to them. We will all and do all struggle on some level and at some point in our lives with negative thoughts about ourselves.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” Another version of verse 5 reads like this, “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy  that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought  and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”

We are called as believers to capture every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to our Father, the Anointed One. This one sentence should be an immense comfort. However, that may be a confusing thought because for so many of us, we feel powerless in the war that wages in our minds. If you feel that way, you are not alone. I have been there too. More than once. I don’t want the words I am writing to be misunderstood and for a reader to hear me say that all struggles we fight with mental health can be solved with a quick prayer and an encouraging Bible verse you’ve posted to your Facebook status. For so many of us, myself included, our battles with negative thoughts are diagnosed disorders that need special attention and oftentimes even other resources. But, here is what I also know to be true. You won’t find a counselor out there who isn’t actively working with their clients to teach, train, and partner with them in their own personal journey against rewriting the negative thoughts they believe deep in their spirit. This is because it is possible to rewire your brain and retrain your thoughts, and I believe there is one big reason why. Jesus Christ rewrites our story, gives us a new name, and puts to death the parts of us that keep us trapped in our shame, but we have to do the work in partnering with Jesus and believing the truth He speaks over us.

 It is possible to take our thoughts captive because of the power of the Spirit that lives within us and the truth of Jesus that washes over us. I am not worthless because I can read that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I am not unlovable because I can read that God “gave His one and only Son for me.” I am not a failure because I can read the words of Jesus that say  “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” I am not without a purpose because I can read that He is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I know I am not inadequate because it was the request of God himself to “make mankind in His image.” He has equipped us to fight the spiritual battle, but we have to choose to fight for our own joy and peace. We have to believe that the power of our Savior is more powerful than any thought that might have kept us captive in the past. You can do this, and so can I because we serve a God more powerful than we could ever imagine, and he is partnering with us in the battle against our thoughts.

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