Taking thoughts captive (Ungodly Beliefs)

An example:
Suzie doesn’t believe her co-workers like her, so she avoids them and sticks to herself. Her co-workers think she’s conceited, so they don’t like her much, so they don’t talk to her and don’t invite her to join them at lunch. This convinces Suzie that she was right when she believed her co-workers didn’t like her.

What Suzie doesn’t know is that she unintentionally caused her own situation.

Overview:
What we believe influences how we behave. Likewise, how we behave impacts what people think about us. In turn, this affects how others behave towards us. Ultimately, how they behave towards us reinforces what we believed about ourselves in the first place. This is called the Pygmalion Effect, also known as self-fulfilling prophecy. (See diagram below)

pygmalion

Given this concept, it’s easy to see how what you believe about yourself greatly impacts your world! So let me ask you, what do you believe about yourself? And the real question is, does it line up with God’s word?

Breaking it down:
In the example above, what Suzie believed about herself was an ungodly belief. Ungodly beliefs are ungodly because they disagree with God’s word, His ways, and/or His will. Have you ever thought to yourself, “That person will never change”? That’s an ungodly belief because the Bible tells us that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), which means that person could change through the love of Jesus Christ. Everyone has ungodly beliefs that they buy into – they could be about themself or someone else (or both). What matters is what you do with these beliefs.

What we should do is spend time replacing the ungodly beliefs with godly ones – in other words, ones that line up with His word, His ways, and/or His will. In our original example, if Suzie had not believed her co-workers didn’t like her, she probably would have been friendlier in an attempt to get to know them. In response, her co-workers probably would have thought she was very nice and they would have invited her to team lunches. Wouldn’t that have been a better outcome?

Despite the fact that changing your beliefs will result in more positive outcomes in your life – those positive outcomes should not be the main reason you choose to change your beliefs ? we should be doing it out of obedience to God. We are tasked by God to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). That means taking the ungodly beliefs and the thoughts related to those beliefs and making them obedient to Christ – in other words, making them godly beliefs. The fact that doing so will result in positive impact in your life just helps to prove that God always has your best interests in mind! He truly wants what is best for us and loves us more than we can begin to imagine.

Identifying the ungodly beliefs in your life:
So, what beliefs need to change in your life? In the table below, I’ve identified some ungodly beliefs and shown the godly belief they should be exchanged for.

Ungodly Belief

Godly Belief

I’m a bad person I’m a godly person – righteous (Psalm 31:1)
I am/feel guilty I have godly sorrow, which brings repentance and change (2 Corinthians 7:10)
I’m unlovable I’m loved and cherished (John 3:16)
I was a mistake I was planned and created with a purpose (Jeremiah 1:5; Proverbs 19:21)
I can’t do ______ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Matthew 19:26)
My prayers are ineffective My prayers are effective and needed (James 5:16)
God doesn’t listen to me God listens and values what I say (John 9:31; Jeremiah 29:12)
I am scared of everything God has not given me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
Sometimes I think I must be crazy God has given me a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

In the next table, I’ve identified characteristics that satan wants you to believe (ungodly beliefs) versus the ones God wants you to believe about yourself (godly beliefs). The idea here is you want to toss (i.e. get rid of) the ones satan wants you to believe and keep the ones God wants you to believe.

“Tossers”

“Keepers”

Guilty

Forgiven

Deceptive

Honest

Stupid

Wise

Unloved

Loved

Unwanted

Cherished

Failure

Victor

Weak

Strong

Proud

Humble

Self-centered

God-centered

Naughty

Pure

Insecure

Secure

Unfulfilled

Christ-filled

Irresponsible

Responsible

Cruel

Loving

Indifferent

Engaged

Unstable

Stable

Bitter

Gentle

Bossy

Assertive

Shy

Meek

Worthless

Valuable

False

Authentic

Useless

Purposeful

Depressed

Joyful

If you’re having trouble identifying the ungodly beliefs you struggle with, there is an exercise that is good at drawing them out. It works like this:

I feel _____________ about __________________________________________
(feeling)                                   (a situation)

because _________________________________________________________.
(I think, thought, or believed…)

But what if you change it around – make it a godly belief – then ask yourself: how do I feel about it now?

Here’s an example: I feel annoyed about cooking dinner for my husband because I had a busy day. But the Bible tells us to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)! So let’s turn it around: I feel delighted about cooking dinner for my husband because it is honoring to him. Wouldn’t you much rather feel that way? Some might say – but I could never feel that way about it! But wait! That’s another ungodly belief because we already know with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), which includes changing our hearts.

I’ve included a table of sample feelings at the bottom of the page – sometimes seeing them listed out can help us to identify what it is we’re feeling.

Application:
Ok, so now that you know what ungodly beliefs are and what affect they can have on your life – what’s next? Basically, it comes down to two things: pray and change. First, you’ll want to confess to God the fact that you believed things that are not in His will. You’ll also was to ask for His help in changing those beliefs and replacing them with godly beliefs. You could pray something like the prayer below – I’ve indicated where you’ll want to fill in with the things that you checked in the tables above.

Lord, I come before You right now and I thank You that You love me (John 3:16) and care about the intimate details of my life – that You care what I think and what I believe. I know that You want us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to You (2 Corinthians 10:5), and I want to be obedient to You in that. I confess to You Lord that I have believed things that I should not have. I believed that (fill in the ones you noted from the ungodly beliefs on the first table) when I should have been standing on Your word and believing (fill in the ones you noted from godly beliefs on the first table). I also believed things about myself that weren’t true. I believed I was (fill in the ones you noted from the “tossers” on the second table), but Lord You want me to believe (fill in the ones you noted from the “keepers” on the second table). Lord, I forgive myself for buying into these lies, and I don’t want to continue to conform to the ways of this world anymore, I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, so I will be aligned with Your perfect will (Romans 12:2). But, I cannot do this on my own – I need Your strength to change Lord. But You have promised to be our strength (Psalm 29:11) and that with You all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). So, I rely on You Lord for these changes, and I thank You right now for them. You are so awesome, Lord! To You be the honor and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

And now, as Jesus says, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) – be mindful of the things you think about yourself and others. If you don’t already have one or more accountability partner(s) – get one! Hold each other accountable for the things you accept for yourself and others. Together, and with God’s help, we can change!

A good way of retraining your mind is learning to stand on the scriptures, which essentially consists of taking a Bible verse and rewording it into a mini-prayer/truth for you to hang on to. I have a brief teaching on this that you might find helpful called Standing on His Word. You also may want to print this page out and keep it around – you can even add more things to the tables as you think of things! If you think of some I should add (or have any other comments you’d like to share with me) or if you’d like me to pray with you just contact me, I’d love to hear from you!

Feeling table (for use with the exercise above):

happy sad caring angry afraid confused
ecstatic abused secure bitter alarmed bewildered
elated defeated firm defiant fearful immobilized
delighted depressed loving disgusted horrified torn
close drained powerful enraged panicky trapped
great distant loved furious petrified troubled
amused grief-stricken strong mad terrified pulled apart
eager hopeless respected rejected apprehensive disturbed
cheerful lonely affectionate seething impatient disorganized
grateful miserable carefree agitated insecure blocked
joyful burdened comforted annoyed threatened misunderstood
open discouraged compassionate envious uneasy mixed-up
proud distressed confident irritated worried frustrated
surprised down emphatic edgy inadequate undecided
warm guilty proud pent-up anxious uncomfortable
hopeful helpless sympathetic grumpy nervous bothered
cooperative ashamed trusting resentful tense puzzled
glad bad calm disappointed timid uncertain

4 thoughts on “Taking thoughts captive (Ungodly Beliefs)

  1. Pingback: Meghan W » Blog Archive » Performance & Love

  2. Pingback: Meghan W » Blog Archive » Standing on His Word

    • Thank you! Glad it was a blessing 🙂 I can’t tell you how often this concept comes to mind. It’s something we see play out far more often than we find it articulated!

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