Romans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Further Reading:Psalm 37:1-40
We will define “toxic thoughts” as any thought that does not bring glory to God – any thought that does not line up with His heart.
Any allowance for the presence of toxic thoughts is excess, as God does not want us to have any toxic thoughts.
Do you set your thoughts on God continually, and on His will and His heart? Do you know for sure that all of your thoughts mirror those of Christ? Do you immediately surrender to God each and every thought that errs from His heart?
I am going to take a guess here: no, you don’t. None of us do. We all fall victim to toxic thoughts. We are human, and we are imperfect. It’s okay to admit that we are not perfect. If we had no imperfections and no shortcomings, we would have no need for God and His grace through Jesus Christ.
Toxic thoughts are deadly. They can pull our minds so far from Christ we don’t even feel Him anymore. Toxic thoughts are the source of our sin. We act in sin based on a toxic idea – the idea of submitting to temptation. If the seeds of toxic thoughts are not thrown out, they will grow as weeds in our minds and become a huge problem, and extremely hard to bring under control. Think about what happens when you let your weeding get away from you. Same thing.
Fighting against toxic thoughts is a battle I fight daily. If you are honest with yourself, you will likely find that this is the case for you as well. It’s much easier to control our outward words and actions (just think about how hard that alone can be!) than it is to control our thoughts. The mind can run wild with errant, unbidden, and toxic thoughts. Today we will look at different forms of toxic thoughts, the main cause (just so you know – you aren’t always at fault), and steps you can take in order to bring your thoughts under God’s control.
Here are some of the forms toxic thoughts can take. This is by no means an exhaustive list. You may struggle with some of these, or your toxic thoughts may not be on this list.
• Unrighteous Anger
• Lack of Faith in God
• Negative Thoughts
• Critical Thoughts
•Temptation to Sin
• Thoughts of Failure
• Thoughts of your Imperfect Past
• Previous Sins
• Thoughts that you don’t need Jesus
Here are some key truths you need to remember about the source of these toxic thoughts:
• Satan is the great deceiver, and our minds are his largest playground. Satan loves to run freely and rampantly through our thoughts, kicking up our broken past, our shortcomings, and our past sins. He enjoys throwing unbidden temptation and disparaging thoughts into our daily lives. He loves to make us think we don’t need God. Please remember that just because you have a toxic thought does not make you a bad person or a sinner.
• How you respond to toxic thoughts means the difference between bringing glory to God and sin. God knows we are humans living in a fallen world. He doesn’t want to condemn you – He wants to help you!
• If you have any form of toxic thoughts or negative thoughts, these thoughts do not come from God. He will not place thoughts into your mind that are contrary to His heart and His nature. This means you are under no obligation whatsoever to remain a slave to your thoughts.
• Accept that although the war against evil has already been won on the cross, spiritual warfare will exist until God sets up His reign on Earth. Our internal struggles and toxic thoughts will be a daily battle – and our most difficult – until we enter Heaven. However, God gives us all the help and strength we need to overcome toxic thoughts.
So what are some actions you can take to ensure your mind is not enslaved by toxic thoughts?
• Sit down in a quiet, secluded place and pray. Ask God to reveal to you any part of your mind that you have allowed to become overgrown by toxic thoughts. Surrender any toxic thought that you run into to God – this means you walk away from these thoughts completely when you finish praying. Trust that God will keep these thoughts captive and away from you.
• Identify your toxic thought triggers. Is there anything you are exposed to that brings about toxic thoughts? This may be a person, a place, a form of media, or a substance. Do everything within your power to remove these triggers from your life completely. I realize you can’t totally eject some things from your life, but prayerfully and intentionally do your absolute best to keep these triggers from your life.
• When a toxic thought enters your mind, take immediate action. Pray, surrendering the thought to God completely, and then think of your favorite Bible verses, or even better, open your Bible right then and read. Set your mind on His truths and promises, and block all worry and stress from the toxic thought from your mind. Rest in The Lord.
• Eat well, sleep well, and spend regular time in the Bible and in prayer. This may seem basic, but I believe these are our greatest weapons against toxic thoughts. If our bodies are at our best, our minds are much more alert and focused against toxic thoughts. If our bodies are weak, our minds can become muddled, and it’s so much harder to fight toxic thoughts and deal with them properly.
So there you have it. Our greatest battles are fought in our minds, and I think it’s safe to say that any excess in life sprouts from the seeds of toxic thoughts.
Sit down, pray, and rest in The Lord. He has already won the war!
Where are you struggling with toxic thoughts?
Here are some extra resources for you to learn more about toxic thoughts and how God will help you overcome them: