Bible Verses About Controlling Your Thoughts

 Learning how to take thoughts captive can be a bit puzzling. I struggled for years, wondering if changing the way I think was even possible. I would even look up Bible verses about controlling your thoughts, but couldn’t quite put all the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that worked.

Before we dive into Bible verses about controlling your thoughts, I wanted to dispel a couple of myths I believed about taking thoughts captive. Believing those myths slowed my ability to change the way I think and I don’t want that to happen to you.

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Don’t make these mistakes when trying to control your thoughts!

My first mistake was believing it was impossible to change the way I think. I came across an anonymous quote that said, “A thought is just a thought and it can be changed.” I remember rolling my eyes in disgust. I knew my thought life was a problem, but felt powerless. So I continued in my negative thinking for a bit longer. Do you feel powerless over your thought life, too?

The second mistake I made was believing it was too hard. When I would work so hard (in my own strength), I would see a glimmer of hope, but it was always short lived. As a result I would give up. I mean, seriously, how long do I have to battle my mind?

Which brings me to the third mistake. I had this crazy idea that once I figured out how to control my thoughts it would never be a problem again. Boy, is that wrong! The battlefield of the mind is an area that we will continue to have to stand firm.  Once you see the Bible verses about controlling your thoughts – you will have deeper understanding of the thought life we’re aiming for (and we will fall short). Why we’re aiming there and how we actually get there.

Quick summary of the myths – you can control your thoughts (hard to believe, I know, but stay with me). It’s not too hard (though it does take effort). And finally, you won’t arrive on the other side of this battle while on here on earth.

Don’t buy on these above mentioned myths like I did. These mindsets rendered me a victim to an out of control thought life.

Alright, enough of that – let’s get on with the Bible verses about controlling your thoughts.

Bible Verses About Controlling Your Thoughts

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy I doc should think about such things. Phillippians 4:8

This verse is like the target we’re aiming for in our thought life. I have to confess, my own thought life misses the mark on it the very first thing… whatever is true. It’s so easy to think on things that simply aren’t true.

When thoughts swirl in our head we often make the mistake of treating them like facts. Those thoughts hang around completely hidden and unchallenged.

Our thoughts are heavily influenced by life experiences from childhood until now. Meaning they’re shaped by our perception. As a result, thoughts can be inaccurate. Those inaccurate thoughts are the very thoughts we want to take captive and control.

You might be wondering why it’s so important to take those thoughts captive…

Why should we control our thoughts?

Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Our thoughts powerfully impact our emotions and actions. The cycle goes like this…

We have a thought (that we treat like a fact), which brings up feelings in us and we respond to those feelings by doing something.

If the original thought is lovely, delightful or true, it will bring up happy emotions and actions. When the thought is anxious, depressive or negative etc, -we don’t feel good and our actions follow suit.

Now the million dollar question – how do we control our thoughts? What is this magic life changing formula? The only book that can truly change your life is the Word of God. Let’s look at Bible verses about controlling your thoughts.

How do we actually control our thoughts?

My biggest downfall is attempting to control my thoughts in my own strength. Consequently I wear out, fall short and give up.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Bringing your weaknesses to God, who gives grace abundantly, is far more effective. We aren’t perfect, nor is our thought life perfect – but the grace of Christ is sufficient. Stop beating yourself up and give it to Him.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

We are not intended to bear the burden alone. It’s grace that comes alongside us to help bear the load. In addition to grace, we’re equipped to wage war against thoughts that are out of control.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:17-18

These Bible verses about controlling your thoughts are an outline of the weapons for fighting – sword of the Spirit (Bible) and pray in the Spirit. Both of those weapons are powerful because of the Holy Spirit. He is our helper – studying and praying is powerful because the Holy Spirit dwells in you and I (believers).

The Bible is powerful in controlling your thoughts!

The Word of God is Truth. Remember when we were talking about how our thoughts aren’t as truthful to us as we’d like to think? The Bible is our guide for truth.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

 What we think isn’t always accurate – that’s when we line it up against God’s Word. The better you know the Bible the easier this process becomes.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

I’ve read that the best time to plant fruit trees is 20 years ago. But the second best time is now. I wasn’t raised in a home that taught from the Bible. Truthfully, I didn’t make it a priority in my life until my late twenties. God brought a bible study into my life that changed everything! This bible study is free in all over the world. Bible Study Fellowship taught me how to study the Bible – see if there’s one near you!

Now you have the formula.  These Bible verses about controlling your thoughts are how you take thoughts captive.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Wrapping It All Up

I remember googling things like ‘Bible verses about controlling your thoughts’ hoping to get a quick fix. Consequently, I would give up on the Bible. There are no quick fixes when it comes to having a wonderful thought life. It takes effort and practice. But, the Word of God will transform your thought life if you believe it’s true.

When you begin the journey to change your thinking – do it in God’s strength, letting His grace wash over you when you fall short. Use the weapons you’ve been given – the Word and prayer. Expect thoughts to pop in your mind that need to be taken captive as long as you’re on the side of heaven. Be encouraged because now you have a plan.

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More Articles On Taking Thoughts Captive

What Does the Bible Say About Negative Thoughts?

How To Stop Negative Self Talk

What additional Bible verses help you in the battle of your mind? Leave a comment!

57 Comments

  1. Ammie Black on July 31, 2019 at 11:30 am

    I struggle with this so very much!! I know what you write is truth…and I have tried to apply it myself, and yet many times I still fail. I love that you end this with the fact that control takes effort and practice. And it is a journey…just because I stumble some days doesn’t mean I can’t be swept up by God’s grace again.

    • Sunshyne on August 3, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      Yes! Controlling our thoughts is definitely a journey…and His grace is sufficient!

    • Kenyetta on April 28, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      I really enjoy this information This is very helpful for me. I struggle with controlling my thoughts and sometimes allow them to control me. But I’m believing God is going to deliver me from this.
      Thank you

      • Sunshyne Gray on May 1, 2020 at 9:16 am

        I’m glad it was helpful-praying for you now, Kenyetta!

    • Amanda Webb on February 24, 2021 at 7:31 am

      Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exhaulteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
      2 Cor 10:5
      Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established
      Prob 15:26
      For God hath not give us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
      2 Tim 1:7
      Thank you, I have been looking for additional scripture on this, I struggle greatly

    • Ana T Rico on April 8, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      I too was introduced to God’s word by BSF. I have remained in the study on an off for the last 15 years. I have dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life and keep coming back to renew my arsenal against the inner battle.Thank you for this post.

  2. Susan on August 1, 2019 at 5:36 am

    God has given me the desire to redirect my thoughts about a month ago.
    Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to keep redirecting what seems like 50 times other days it doesn’t take much.
    Something that is real challenging is every night before bed I wanted to take time and focus only on God.
    This includes thinking about God on His throne with Christ to his right and cherubim surrounding Him.
    Then continue about how He divided the heavens and earth, how he placed each star planet etc in its exact place
    Then it’s time to travel down to earth focusing on how he divided and created everything on land and sea.
    Started out by putting 2 minutes on my phone timer.
    That was way to much because I’m like a child with ADD.
    Fast forward…some nights I can do 1 minute other nights 2 minutes but I the important thing is training the mind and being faithful to Him.
    Try not to get discouraged
    Many blessings will come your way

    • Sunshyne on August 3, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you for sharing this Susan! So often we want immediate results. Your experience is so encouraging to hear, reminding us sometimes it takes more effort than other times:) I also love hearing that the practice is bringing progress:)

      • Gwen on June 5, 2020 at 4:36 pm

        Begin to put in place scriptures and songs to grab onto when negative things enter your mind.
        The less time you give it, the less power it has.
        Remember…it’s a process.

    • Tom Smelser on February 4, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      I Tom Smelser hereby desire to learn all I can to control my thoughts. I like what I’ve read.

      • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:18 pm

        So glad you like the article, Tom!

    • Adriana on March 8, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      I love this idea I’m going to try this tonight before I go to bed and close my eyes !!

  3. Mayra Carrera Viteri on October 1, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Dios los bendiga inmensamente hnos y hnas 💛 💙 ❤️ Me declaro libre en el poderoso nombre de Jesús de Nazareth amén ❤️ Aleluyah 🙌

    • Donita on October 2, 2019 at 5:39 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this!! It was just what I needed!! I want to put it to practice in my life. I have already written Bible verses on an index card on taped them around my house where I can see and memorize them on a daily basis and take time to meditate on God’s Word throughout the day. There is the fact tho’ that when it becomes “part of your house”, you dont see it as easily. 😔 But thanks again for sharing!! It was a real blessing!! God bless you!!

      • Sunshyne on October 4, 2019 at 12:56 pm

        Thanks Donita! Putting God’s Word all around you, meditating on it and leaning into it is life changing(Hebrews 4:12)!

      • Judy Yoder on January 14, 2020 at 8:03 am

        I have several verses I have memorized that help me refocus on God. Also I use a God Box to give my thoughts and worries to Him. I release them… I trust Him. It is not easy as you say. Also negative thoughts need to be replaced with positive ones. A gratitude journal is a great way to do that. “If God be for me who can be against me?”
        “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
        God is with me. God is helping me. God is with me now!
        “The Lord is my Shepherd “
        There are more…I hope some of these help someone else.

        • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:17 pm

          Those are some of my favorite verses too, Judy!

        • Ann on May 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm

          Yes Judy, I needed these reminders today. Bless ❤️

      • Heir to the Kingdom of God on February 7, 2020 at 1:28 am

        Actually it’s called discernment of spirits. I agree that scripture is the most powerful way to control our thoughts. Jesus used it in the desert for forty days to combat Satan.

        Therefore be aware, recognize, and take action. That’s the best three step approach to combat Satan in this spiritual world.

        • Ruth Schaefer on March 20, 2022 at 10:16 am

          Beautifully said!! Thank you for that reminder of Christ’s use in the desert.

      • Cynthia Lokko on February 7, 2020 at 2:13 am

        Thank you very much. Have learnt alot today. That to control my thoughts is to read the word n pray.
        Even though I tried but my problem is how to meditate on the word n let the Holy Spirit lead is my challenge
        But I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me. Thank you.

        • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:19 pm

          Thank you for stopping by Cynthia! Glad it was helpful!

  4. Courtney on November 5, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you so much for this!
    I have struggled with this intensely on-and-off for a few years now, and just so discouraged by it, because I hyperfocus on these thoughts, (I have ADHD) and unable to shift my thinking. This is extremely encouraging for me to read as well because I wear myself out and just feel miserable! <3 I have encouragement that things will get better, thank you!

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      So glad it was helpful Courtney!

  5. Brianna Imani on January 27, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    This was really helpful! Thank you!

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Brianna!

  6. Ndyamuhakyi Enock on February 8, 2020 at 6:21 am

    God bless you for sharing. You know, if we we can bear God’s love for Himself is love (1 John 4:16) then nothing is impossible with Him.

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:20 pm

      Yes, Ndyamuhakyi, nothing is impossible with Him! I stand firm on that when I feel overwhelmed by my thoughts.

  7. Amanda Black on February 21, 2020 at 1:40 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t wait until I know the word of God so well that I can cite scriptures to correlate with things we face in everyday life. I have been working on my thought process and God brought me here (to your page) for a reason. May God continue to bless you.

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:20 pm

      Thank you Amanda! Scripture helps us see things through the lens of God, rather than our own lens. So helpful in the battle of the mind!

    • Olivia on May 23, 2021 at 10:39 am

      Hi I would love to no how I could print yhis out.Ive ttyed and im unable to print it for some reason. Or if you could send thour email that would br wonderful

  8. emily lovely on March 12, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    I been dealing with sexual thoughts as I turn 15 I don’t watch nor listen to sexual things so I never knew where those form of thoughts came from it’s horrible I can’t do anthing or relax without them popping up it’s been messing with my life I started to isolate myself from family thinking the evil with use them apart of it I wish it would go away it’s driving me insane I started to get headaches from it how can I stop it I pray all the time what am I doing wrong

    • Passerby on March 18, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      Emily,
      God tells us in his word that if we resist the devil and submit to God, the devil will flee. The enemy of our salvations attacks in many different ways and uses different weapons. Know that you are not the only one who goes through things like these. Know that the word of God is true. I speak from experience.

      When thoughts like those come into your mind do not ignore them. Take them to God (He already knows anyway). Tell him how the enemy is attacking you and how you want no part of it. Rebuke the thoughts in the name of Jesus. But don’t stop there. Fill yourself up with the word of God (from beginning to end). Everything in the Bible will be a useful tool for you to use at various times. Keep your mind on Him and don’t “feed” anything that will nourish those thoughts. I promise that you will have victory.

      • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 9:16 pm

        Amen! Emily-take Passerby’s words to heart! Renew your mind continuously with the Word of God!- I speak from experience, consistence in the Bible with change you and transform you from the inside out. P.S. Research shows that most (if not all) experience invasive thoughts at times that are violent or sexual. Even so, we must practice taking those thoughts captive. Check our more here… https://sunshynegray.com/take-your-thoughts-captive-bible-study/

    • Ibukun on October 11, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      The first thing you should do is be absolutely convinced that God is mighty and He is able to save you from this and so, trust in Him completely
      Second, you have to believe and understand that the enemy has been defeated already and so you are stronger and powerful than any of his gimmicks (sexual thoughts). Don’t let fear grow in you because this is one of the greatest ways the enemy attacks believers.
      Also, start renewing your mind by feeding on God’s word. Make sure you study and meditate with understanding. The Bible says you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (The word of God is the truth)
      Then, pray according to the word you have studied. It is prayer in line with God’s word coupled with faith that overcomes. Ask the Holy Spirit to guard and overshadow your mind.
      Lastly, try not to be always idle. These thoughts tend to come up more when you are alone and doing nothing. When the thoughts come when you are about to sleep, switch it immediately to God’s word and confess it immediately (2 Corinthians 10: 3-5)This will be of help.
      It is very important to note that it is not only watching and listening to sexual things that nurture these thoughts. The little little sexual scenes in movies you watch, the music you listen to, the conversations you have and the type of friends you keep can also greatly affects your thoughts. The Bible says the eye is the lamp of the body. Guard what you use your eyes to see and your ears to hear. And if this means changing your entire playlist completely to godly songs or staying away from wordly movies completely to avoid stumbling on any sexual related scenes, so be it. Guarding your eyes is a forever action every Christian must do daily to stand firm against the evil in this world.
      This is a process but you can be sure that you will overcome. God loves you unconditionally and is always with you to help you in your weakness.♥️

      • Ibukun on October 11, 2020 at 12:51 pm

        This is my response for Emily Lovely. Hope you see this 💖

  9. Leah Deal on March 30, 2020 at 9:47 am

    I have found from experience that the old tale about the Indian grandfather and his grandson asking about the two wolves within is accurate for this subject! Which ever side you feed the most will dominate your thought life! I find that the more I turn off the news, (or the tv period!) and the more I surround myself by people with the same heart and goal, the easier and more natural it becomes. I had a time period where the Lord told me to turn off all the voices! I didn’t know what that meant so I turned off the tv and talk radio for months and only studied scripture while some days listening to worship music. It totally transformed my thought life! Now if a untruthful or negative thought pops up my mind quickly combats it with truth and I just move on in faith! Only once in a great while will I struggle with a thought that seems true because of outward evidences but it is very few and far between. Hope this helps somebody!

    • Sunshyne Gray on March 31, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      Leah, thank you so much for sharing that! One of the things you said stood out to me- immersed yourself in Scripture…so transforming! And in ways I don’t even seek, yet God knows just what needs refining and does so through His Word. Thank you for adding that it doesn’t happen in 1 sitting or Bible study- it happens over time in my experience. Blessings!

    • Ann on May 17, 2020 at 12:15 pm

      That’s beautiful and gives me hope Leah. Bless ❤️

  10. Krista Hogmire on June 11, 2020 at 12:23 am

    Good article, I am going to have to listen to Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind again

  11. Precious on July 18, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Hey, thank you so much. This really helped me. continue doing a great job, you are really helping us. May God bless you.

  12. Sunshyne Gray on July 20, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Precious!

  13. Besa Masaiti on August 20, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    This is really life changing, thank you so much for this Spirit-moving article. It’s summary reminds me of some lyrics of a song I was taught in Sunday School.
    ‘ Read your Bible’
    ‘Pray everyday’
    ‘Till you grow, grow, grow’

    Truly when we unite continuous prayer with the reading and understanding of God’s life changing word(For man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God Matthew 4 vs4) it is when we realize God’s ability, power and love for us, that is able to overcome all things such as our thoughts and help us live life with a Godly mind-set.

    Ephesians 4 vs 23 is one of my favorite verses about our thoughts, indirectly.

  14. Bayode bakare Sunday on September 20, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Thank so much for this, God has really used you and he will continue to glorify his name in your life…

  15. Vanessa on October 23, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Honestly, sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with my thoughts that I start feeling hopeless and depressed, but going on here and knowing i’m not alone really encourages me to fight the good fight and trust in God… slowly but surley

  16. Felix on October 24, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    I have no idea on how to control my mind since you have enlighten me with this scripture I believe this will help Thanks

  17. Sarah B on April 29, 2021 at 6:35 am

    Thank you so much for this! God’s timing is absolutely perfect as this is the EXACT thing I needed right now. There has been a lot of adversity in my life lately, and I have surrendered to thinking that I am just not enough and I tend to fall into those thoughts, hard. I know exactly who is preying on that very weakness and he will be defeated!!

  18. mom C on August 6, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    When Satan puts bad thoughts in my mind I find that singing Christian hymns in my head help a lot. Sometimes I even laugh & say really Satan those are the thoughts you put on my head. God’s got this! That helps me too. By the way I’m 68 & he likes to use stupid stuff I did in my youth. Things I don’t even remember till he puts it in my head! Just keep doing what you’re doing. Its good to see a 15 year old using prayer & the Bible to combat Satan!!!

  19. Carlene FIsher on September 13, 2021 at 5:46 am

    Thank you, found it very helpful. Going through struggles and need to learn the word and speak life over myself.

  20. vicky on September 21, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you so much, very helpful and very encouraging .

  21. Mo on September 29, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you so much.
    John 8vs 32. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
    Philippians 4vs 7. And the peace of God which transcends(is better) all understanding will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.

  22. Helen on October 10, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Sunshyne (for a lack of knowing your real name- Ive just registered for your program!) apart from focussing on replacing/ crucifying the old self and those past thoughts with the NEW creation that we are through Jesus, SPEAKING POWERFUL words/scriptures of LIFE DURING the day is critical as well.) My second challenge which I believe will absolutely revolutionize my life. Would you consider this program helpful in this respect too? Thankyou so much and looking forward to your reply. Helen

  23. Wanda on November 13, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    I Really NEED TO LEARN TO CONTROL BAD THOUGHTS THAT COME WITH OUT ME EVEN THINKING THOSE THOUGHTS! I HATE MY TOUGHTTS !

    • Donna on January 18, 2022 at 11:47 am

      Wanda. One of the things that really helped me was in 2 Cor 10: 3-5. When at home I found that is my worst battlefield because there are temptations of the thoughts in unconscious habits (e.g. switching on the telly, going to the pantry, computer, even looking in the mirror, etc). So I began practicing standing at my front door before entering my home and reciting these verses (2 Cor 10: 3-5), realising God has given us weapons! casting down imaginations, demolishing habits, strongholds, knowing that we belong to God (v7) and every thought must filter thru God (his Holy Spirit helps us to direct us to His Word). And then I open my front door, with the “weight on my shoulders” gone, and then am able to enter home with new thoughts. (You can do this with any place that you struggle with)

  24. Lindsay on January 27, 2023 at 7:42 am

    Absolutely loved this ❤️

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