Breaking Toxic Thought Patterns

5 Mins read

Why do you think the things that you think? That question may seem like an odd one, but when you can answer that, you actually gain a better understanding of yourself. For many of us, some of the thought patterns that we’ve held onto for most of our lives are not healthy. That’s why we struggle with self-esteem, self-image, and the way we interact with others. If you could hit the reset button on your mind, would you do it? If so, today’s the day.

If you ever played any video game, you probably know that one of the best features is the ability to hit the reset button. In the old Super Mario Brothers games, being able to hit reset meant that nothing you had done wrong mattered. If you failed to rescue Princess Peach, you could hit reset, and it was like nothing had ever happened. You were given a fresh start. While modern video games have certainly changed, the ability to hit reset still remains. Have you made it to the Super Bowl on the Madden NFL series and thrown an interception late in the Super Bowl? Turn it off and turn it back on. Suddenly, the interception is forgotten, and you have a fresh start at the big game.

Wouldn’t it be great if life came with a reset button? Moreover, wouldn’t it be great if the way that you perceive things came with one? What if you found out today that they did. You have the ability to hit reset on your mind, and completely revamp the way that you think. Now, unlike Mario and Madden, this won’t be an instantaneous process. Hitting reset on the way that you think will take time, commitment, and the help of the Holy Spirit.

For most of us, the way that we think goes back to our youth. While opinions may have changed somewhat, most of us can trace the way that we perceive ourselves, others, and the events of our lives back to childhood. While there are times where that’s certainly a fine way to think, some of those thought patterns are dangerous, and even toxic.

Today, you can set yourself free of toxic thought patterns. You can break the hold that negative thoughts have on your life by applying the principles outlined in Scripture to your life. Are you tired of feeling the way that you feel because you’re stuck thinking the way that you think? There’s a reset button, and it’s right in front of you.

Shirking Culture
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Teddy Roosevelt is cited as saying, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Dale Carnegie is credited with saying, “Our thoughts make us what we are.” All those men understood the importance of the way that we think, and each of them were forced to overcome some obstacles on their way to success.

For example, Henry Ford completely revolutionized the automobile industry by creating the assembly line. While the process has been largely automated over the years, the process has remained the same. What’s amazing is that people told Ford that his process was never going to work. If he had listened to them and given up, not only would he have achieved fame and wealth as the mind behind Ford Motor Company, but the way that goods are assembled today may have never come about.

Society will always cause you to focus on what you’re lacking instead of what you’ve got. Conversely, God will tell you to use what’s already inside you to do something incredible. The decision about who you’re going to listen to revolves around how you think. Do you think culture is right? If so, you will always believe that you’re too slow, too broke, and not good enough to fulfill your purpose. Conversely, if you think about yourself the way that God thinks about you, you will understand that there is greatness inside you because you are the temple of the Living God!

The first step to resetting your mind is to put away the line of thinking that is prominent in a largely Godless culture. Paul said we could only achieve this through the renewal of our mind. Paul knew the importance of hitting reset thousands of years before a reset button existed. Stop thinking like culture and start thinking like Christ!

What Are You Thinking About?
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Scientists say that the human mind process somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts every day. That comes to somewhere between 2,500 and 3,300 thoughts every hour. Your mind truly never stops. Even when you’re sleeping, your mind is active, which is why you have dreams.

Those 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts would be wonderful if they were all good, but that’s not the case. Instead, we tend to get a negative thought in our mind and then it gets trapped there. If you’ve ever walked into work and been reprimanded by your boss, you probably know how this works. You go from being told that you made a mistake on a report, and your mind spirals. Before long, you’re wondering if you’re about to be fired, how you’re going to pay your bills, how you’re going to take care of your family and your mind has you convinced that you’re going to end up on the streets. That happens because we aren’t thinking about the right things.

Whenever you feel like you have a thought trapped in your mind, give it the Philippians 4:8 test. Is it true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise? If not, change the way that you’re thinking. Instead of focusing on how angry your boss is about your mistake, think about how you can get it right the next time. When you run your thoughts through the filter of this verse, you begin truly resetting the way that you think.

Taking Bad Thoughts Captive
2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

What does it mean to “take thoughts captive?” According to Priscilla Shirer, “Taking thoughts captive means controlling them instead of letting them control you.” We are constantly in a battle within our own minds. However, we are equipped with everything we need to take the toxic thoughts captive.

The only way to combat negative, toxic thoughts captive is to combat them with the powerful truths that we find in God’s Word. When left unchecked, our negative thoughts, the ones that are “raised against the knowledge of God” can destroy us. They can leave us feeling worthless, ashamed, and can damage our relationships with other people. That’s why it’s so important to put a stop to them as early as possible.

Are you battling toxic thoughts? Begin by taking them captive today. For every negative, dangerous thought that you have, find a Scripture that disagrees with it. When you do, you will notice a change in every area of your life.

A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to hit the reset button on my mind. I know that my thought patterns go back for what seems like forever, but I can take them captive today. Help me to focus on the things that Paul discussed in Philippians 4:8 as I put my thoughts in subjection to Your truth. In Christ’s name I am victorious and I ask these things, Amen.

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