We take a look at some practical techniques to gain control of our thought life.
~~ Watch the Video ~~
- 2 Corinthians 10:5
- 2 Corinthians 10: 1-6
- Philippians 4:8
- Romans 14: 1-4
- 1 Corinthians 10:23
- Colossians 3:1-3
- Philippians 4:11-14
- 2 Corinthians 11:3
- Galatians 5: 16-18
2 Corinthians 10:5
5We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We have 8,000 to 18,000 thoughts a day.
Brain gets input from:
- Our senses
- Our gut
- Our memory
A trigger is an external stimulation that activates an internal memory and brings it to our conscious mind.
- A comment
- A song
- A smell
- A movie
- A facial expression
- A person
- An animal
- A situation
- A TV show
So how can we take all of these thoughts captive?
- Traits of Wholeness
- Review: Overcoming Addictions
- Take Every Thought Captive
- Responding to Our Thoughts
- Negative thoughts
- Think Positive
- Practical Ways to Take Your Thoughts Captive
- Practice of Gratitude
- Filter What Goes into Your Mind
- Put On the New Self
- Solution: Mind Management
- Memory Verses
- Be Led by the Spirit
Traits of Wholeness
We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness
How can we be _______ healthy
Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past
We’re not just supposed to get eternal life
- We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth
Traits of Wholeness
- Not seeking external approval / validation
- Living by values and principles
- Setting Boundaries
- Taking ownership of your responsibilities
- Living with purpose and passion
- Healthy relationships with others
- Not losing control of your emotions
- Free from addictions
- Addressing Conflict
- Not critical or Judgmental
- Not jealous
- Genuinely applaud the success of others
- Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
- Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
- Not afraid to fail
- Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
- Selfless encounters with others
- Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
- You care about how others feel
- Don’t give into peer/social pressure
- Can communicate directly
- Being led by the Spirit
Review: Overcoming Addictions
Habits, Patterns and Addictions
You have conscious or unconscious patterns
Sow a thought and you reap an action
Sow an action and you reap a habit
Sow a habit and you reap a character
Sow a character and you reap a destiny
a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing harm.
characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences
negative thoughts or emotions > behavior > escape
- Over eating
If you take pleasure in things that violate your own values it leaves you feeling guilty
Addiction means you are consumed by something.
- We are designed to be consumed by God.
- When we are not filled by God, we search for another way to fill the void
Causes of Addiction
- Anxiety / Depression
- Feelings of emptiness
- Guilt / Shame
- Lack of self love
At first it was fun
Then it was fun with problems
Now it’s just problems
Solution: Resetting Your Brain’s Reward Value
Emotional trigger > behavior > reward
- Become aware of the emotion
- Analyze the triggering emotion
- Anxiety, depression, guilt, embarrassment, loneliness, regret, emptiness, hopelessness, ...
- Analyze the behavior
- Analyze the result of the behavior
- Anxiety > stress eat > guilt
- Lonely > drink > guilt
- Analyze the thought pattern
- Develop an action to replace it
- Take it to God
Example: Smoking Study
majority of subjects had tried this before and fell on average 6 times
instead focus on being curious
We allowed them to smoke but told them to be curious about the experience
realization: smells like stinky cheese, tastes like chemicals… Yuck
Reward value decreased
- She started to become disenchanted with her behavior
Take it To God
- Take the desire away
- Point out the real issue
- Heal the real issue
- Ask what steps to take
- Ask God to intervene in your life
- Strength to Break the cycle
- Reading the word
- Strengthen your relationship with Jesus
Take Every Thought Captive
2 Corinthians 10: 1-6
1Now by the mildness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am humble when face to face with you, but bold when away. 2I beg you that when I come I may not need to be as bold as I expect toward those who presume that we live according to the flesh.
3For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, as soon as your obedience is complete.
- Destroy argument
- Take every thought captive
You raise an argument over the knowledge of God
Be Like God
Like Adam and Eve
- You want to be like God
- You want to define what’s good and what’s evil
- you accept the knowledge of the world but don’t buffet it with the knowledge of God
Paul Was Defending His Ministry
Why do you think Paul was humble when face to face, but bold when he was away?
Humble When Face to Face
- This is a reference to what was said about him by his critics
- There were people in Corinth trying to discredit Paul
The Arguments Were Against Him
- the Judaizers (as in ch. 3)
- self-described “super apostles” (2 Cor 11:5; 12:11)
Responding to Our Thoughts
As humans we are able to step back and observe our thoughts.
We should have response - ability
- We shouldn’t blame the devil
- Or someone else
Sometimes a thought comes into our mind and we entertain it.
- And that causes us to spiral.
When you get a thought you can
- Accept it
- Deny it
- Control it
Impact of Your Response
Whatever you think about most will grow.
When we don’t make the right choice, we fall back on habits
Do you remember negative experiences or positive experiences more?
- Comments from coworkers
- Comments in your review
- Comments on social media
- Comments from strangers in public
- Interactions while driving
Why is that?
Negative thoughts have more impact because
- we pay more attention to those
- they are a threat to our survival
- they have created a disruption in your brain
You are going to pay attention to whatever is threatening your survival.
The more traumatic incidents you’ve been through, the more negative thoughts you will have in your head.
The Gain/Loss Frame
If someone tells you that the glass is half full
- You think of it as a “gain frame“
- It’s positive
If someone tells you that the glass is half empty
- “loss frame”
Experiment: told patients about a medical procedure
- 70% success rate… People liked it
- 30% failure rate… People didn’t like it
- When they told 70% group to think of it as 30% failure… They didn’t like it
- When they told the failure group that they could think of it at 70% success… They still didn’t like it
Experiment: Governor running for reelection. State wide cuts were proposed to affect 10,000 jobs when he got in
- 40% of jobs were saved… They like them
- 60% of jobs were lost… They didn’t like them
- Told 40% group that 60% jobs were lost… They didn’t like them
- Told 60% group the 40% of jobs were lost… They still didn’t like them
Once you get into the loss frame … you get stuck there
It takes work to stay positive
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Your Thoughts Impact Your Health/Life
Your thoughts instantaneously impact your 10 trillion cells.
Whenever you make a choice, something changes inside of your brain.
- 75 to 90% of illnesses come from our thought life
- Thinking about traumatic things that happened and people that we don’t forgive damage our mind.
- The food that you eat and chemicals impact your brain as well
Your thoughts when you go to sleep impact the creation of the 100 million cells you create every night
Your body responds the same way to negative thoughts as it does to a physical threat like viruses, Covid or flu, measles or an injury.
- It stimulates the same response in your immune system.
Practice of Gratitude
UC Davis studies show that writing something that you’re grateful for every day he makes you feel better
Write down 2 or 3 things you are grateful for each day
Filter What Goes Into Your Mind
We use filters to capture bad things
- Oil filter
- Furnace filter
- Fuel filter
Work on selecting your thoughts
Filter what is causing you to think negative thoughts
- Social media
What types of things might we need to filter?
Everyone doesn’t have the same freedom
What’s okay for them, may not be okay for you.
Romans 14: 1-4
1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions.a 2For one person has faith to eat all things, while another, who is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats everything must not belittle the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
You need to decide if you can
- Drink alcohol
- Listen to gangster rap
- Go to a nightclub
1 Corinthians 10:23
23 All things are permitted, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted, but not all things build people up.
It is important that we take time to think every day.
We should take at least 16 minutes during the course of the day where you don’t do anything except sit.
Daydreaming and imagining it’s a way of housekeeping in the brain. Once you clean up your thought life you will know what to think about.
Put On the New Self
1 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.
3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
- Keep seeking the things that are above
- Habitually and continually set your mind on things above
Satan would bring him to mind what you have
Satan tells you “you will enjoy this“, but he doesn’t tell you “you will only enjoy it for a season“.
When would you use the memory verse:
- 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me?
11 Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
12 I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my difficulty.
What is that verse talking about?
Philippians 413 is not a verse about being able to accomplish my will because Christ is with me. The verse speaks about being content with the current circumstances that I am in.
Paul is saying that he can be content. He has mastered his thought life.
We need to learn the concept of ...enough
Story: my car
Satan deceives believers
2 Corinthians 11:3
3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Our mind can be easily deceived unless you fill it with the truth of the word of God
Story: Satan came and switched the prices
Solution: Mind Management
Religion can teach us to deny reality because we aren’t supposed to be thinking like that
- We can deny the fact that we are making a wrong decision
- If you don’t deal with something it doesn’t go away
We need to recognize triggers and patterns of behavior.
When it’s out in the open it’s in the light and that’s when you can deal with it.
When you realize something that you did wrong in the past or that is wrong about you...that is the first step in changing.
- You shouldn’t get stuck in guilt, shame and condemnation.
- “I realize that once I did feel like that, but that’s not who I am now.”
Steps: Taking Your Thoughts Captive
To do this you have to be aware of every thought
Sometimes we just go straight into the habit when we feel the emotion
- Become aware of your thoughts
- Analyze the trigger
- Experience the emotion
- Write down the thought
- Analyze the thought
- Analyze the response
- Look for a pattern
- What action can I take?
These steps can be applied to
- A toxic habit
- Managing day-to-day stress
Become Aware of Your Thoughts
What am I thinking?
Awareness is a choice to stand back and observe your thoughts and feelings
You don’t want to try to suppress the thought or talk it away.
Awareness is the first and most crucial part.
Become aware of
- Why am I thinking about that?
- What information am I thinking about?
- What emotions am I feelings?
- Become aware of your emotional warning signals
- Gather awareness of your physical body response
- What are you saying
- What are you doing
- What is your response
Analyze the Trigger
What caused me to think this?
- What am I reacting to?
- Do I feel Empty, depressed or anxious
- Am I angry?
Self judgment can be a trigger
- “That was stupid”
- “I can’t believe I did that”
Experience the Emotion
What am I feeling?
Don’t turn to your coping mechanisms.
Don’t distract yourself.
Don’t numb yourself
People will turn to their addictions when they are triggered. What they need to do is before they react… Just pause. Before you plow forward you should pause.
When you pause is actually when you feel the pain. This is the place that you need to explore. The tension in your life is threatening to come up at this point so you go to your coping strategy. That is the point where you need to try to determine what the pain is.
We Return to our phone so quickly to distract ourselves that we don’t have time to process it and see what is going on. We have all of these habits that we formed and we don’t know how we got there.
How are you feeling?
The natural human response to negative emotions is to pull away
- The natural human response to anxiety is to avoid the thing that makes us anxious
- The response to depression is block out the painful emotions with whatever works at that time
We then don’t make decisions based on our values, but instead based on the things you don’t want to feel
When we turn towards those emotions and be in that space, our choices widen and we get to make choices about our future
When we feel anxiety, instead of trying to distract ourselves we can get curious
Write Down The Thought
When you write you have a release of energy.
Writing allows a free flow of energy.
- Write (literally) down your thoughts
- Your brain will naturally self interrupt you so you don’t forget
- Prevents you from catastrophizing
Analyze the Thought
Why did I think this in the first place?
- Where will these thoughts leave me?
- Will the thoughts get me where I want to go?
- Well these thoughts build me up or tear me down?
- Could I share these thoughts with someone else?
- Where did the thought originate?
- Do I feel guilty thinking these thoughts?
- Do these thoughts fit who I am as a follower of Jesus?
Analyze the Response
How am I responding?
- What am I saying
- What am I doing?
- Is it working?
Look for a Patterns
Look at what you have written and try to re-conceptualize it.
Make sense of it and try to see the patterns.
- I drink when I am going to have tough conversations
- I look at pornography when I feel rejected (e.g. no text response)
What does this mean?
Could I be missing some information?
- Is it possible that I don’t know everything?
- Could I be the cause?
Example: I hate people who say “no”
- people responding to my tone
Example: people asking “what’s wrong”
Could your expectations be unreasonable?
What Action Can You Take?
Actively take a step towards your goal
Develop an action.
- Take a deep breath
- Get clarification in the future
- Don’t volunteer for things I don’t want to do
- Communicate what I’m feeling to the other person
Don’t use scriptures to try to hide the issue..
You don’t pretend everything is fine.
The power in scripture is not the words but it is the meaning behind them.
Memory Verse Technique
Look up a scripture to address the thought.
Look up scriptures that address each of your triggers.
Is the fear of death a problem for you?
- “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Meditate on the scriptures you’ve chosen
Consider each word
Look it up in another bible version
Memorize the Scriptures
Display your verses to see them throughout the day.
Since anxious thoughts roll through your thought life thousands of times per day, it’s important to replace them with God’s truth as often as necessary.
Most of us are visual learners and need reminders to choose the truth.
- Put your favorite verse in front of you on a 3 x 5 card or a sticky note.
- Look at it as many times as you need every day to take your thoughts captive.
Replace your negative self-talk with affirmations from God’s Word.
You can make your chosen verse into an affirmation. For example, Psalm 23:4 talks about God walking with us through the valley of the shadow of death. You could say to yourself, “Today I choose not to fear this valley. God is right beside me, protecting me and guiding me. He is taking care of me.” Make it into a personal prayer.
Personalize the scripture
Take every thought captive by the butt
Be Led by the Spirit
Galatians 5: 16-18
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
When we are in alignment with the Holy Spirit you activate
- Health benefits
- The natural pharmacopeia
- The ability to hear and discern
- Inherit the Kingdom of God
If we’re in constant connection with the Holy Spirit and follow His leading
- Worry goes away
- Fear of failure goes away
- Regret goes away
If we have a constant internal dialogue with God we will do what he wants us to do not what we want to do.
We should have constant check-in‘s with God.
- That is prayer
This adheres to the verse that says pray without ceasing.
Instructor: Michael Leadon
Take Every Thought Captive
Corner Brook Baptist Church
Taking control of our thoughts
Dr. Charles Stanley
Detoxing your mind: an interview with Dr. Caroline leaf
Take Every thought captive
Mind - body connection | HSC 17
Dr. Caroline leaf
Getting stuck in the negatives ( and how to get unstuck)
TEDx talks Allison Ledgerwood
Renew Your Mind
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Modern science tells us that our minds have the ability to build neural connections.
- Neural plasticity
Allow the Holy Spirit to show us that the thought is not true
You replaced the thought with the truth of God's word
Renewing your mind is a continual thing. If you are not renewing your mind with the leading of the Holy Spirit then you are being led by the enemy.
Satan blinds the mind of the unbeliever
2 Corinthians 4: 3-4
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.