Read: 2 Corinthians 10:5

In the mental health field, the term used for negative self-talk is “cognitive distortions,” which, in short, are unhelpful and untrue ways of thinking. Most people occasionally experience cognitive distortions, some worse than others. The most severe effects of these untrue thinking patterns can lead to anxiety, depression, shame, and social isolation.

In John 8, Jesus tells us exactly who Satan is:

“…[He] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
— John 8:44

Satan uses cognitive distortions as one of his tactics to lie to God’s people and paralyze them in the pit of shame. Mental health professionals have developed some helpful tools and techniques to combat this tactic, one of which to challenge negative thoughts. In this process, you essentially take your thoughts to court with a list of questions:

  • Is there substantial evidence FOR my thought?
  • Is there evidence CONTRARY to my thought?
  • Am I attempting to interpret this situation without all the evidence?

The list goes on. This process aligns with scripture:

…take every thought captive to obey Christ,
— Corinthians 10:5

To take a thought captive, we need to take it to court, using the truth of God’s word as our evidence. Unsurprisingly, the same chapter that warns us of the father of lies tells us how to fight back against him.

“…if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
— John 8:31

The more we abide in God’s word, the more quickly we can demolish the enemy’s lies and be free of negative self-talk.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What thoughts have you been struggling to take captive lately?
  2. How can you replace these thoughts with God’s truth?
  3. What specific Scriptures can help you combat these negative thoughts?