At times our thoughts can derail us. How can you use the Bible to help change your thinking? Here are 16 Bible verses for intrusive thoughts.
Everyone has struggled with intrusive thoughts to a degree. When we refer to thoughts as being intrusive, we’re describing those kinds of thoughts that are unwanted, and often not in a good way.
The intrusive thoughts that you are struggling with may come in the form of a flashback, an image, or a desire or compulsion that you suddenly experienced without any clear understanding of where it came from.
These thoughts can sometimes be sinful, or invoke fear, or bring about shock. Sometimes these thoughts can be tempting, and lead us to go further down its path. Other times these thoughts might bring great concern, and we confide in others or bring it to God in prayer.
Though these thoughts may be difficult to keep out of our minds, we can find hope in knowing that God has not left us powerless against our thoughts. Instead, He has given us the tools with which to fight the battle for our minds.
As we deal with intrusive thoughts, we can fill our minds with God’s word, and use it as a weapon against those unwanted thoughts. Here are a few verses that can help you fight against those thoughts.
16 Bible Verses for Intrusive Thoughts
1. 2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
God hasn’t left us powerless against our thoughts, and the battle that rages in our minds. He gave us His Spirit which does not make us fearful, but gives us the power to fight against sin, love and self-discipline.
2. Romans 12:2
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.
The world is all about excess. Whether that is in our thoughts, speech, or deeds. The pattern of the world says that we can think of things that oppose God, and we can ruminate on it. But God’s word says otherwise. We’re called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, this means that we no longer are enslaved to the thinking of the world, but have been given the means, through God’s word, to be renewed in how we think.
3. Philippians 4:8
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—think about such things.
God has given us each part of our lives with the ability to glorify Him. This is true of our thoughts as well. We not only need to fight off unwanted thoughts, but we are able to construct new ways of thinking and can ask God to help us think on those things that are lovely, pure, right, praiseworthy and glorifying to God.
4. Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Our hearts and our minds are closely connected. The things we value in our hearts will often be what we are fixated on in our minds, and that we express in our words and deeds. We can ask God to help us guard our hearts and minds, especially when we are struggling with intrusive thoughts.
5. 2 Corinthians 10:5
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.
What do we do with thoughts that are contrary to God’s word? We take it captive. It is not always easy to do, and sometimes our thoughts may feel as though they are completely out of our control. But this verse tells us that these thoughts don’t just disappear because of our strength, but because of the power of Christ. Even our thoughts can be made to submit to Christ.
6. Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Those unwanted and intrusive thoughts can sometimes create fear in us. We may dwell on them, and try to analyze them and figure out if they mean something. But our thoughts and our understanding can be skewed, that is why we can’t depend on it and can lay them down before the Lord, asking Him to give us perspective and direct our way.
7. Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Once a sinful or intrusive thought has entered our minds, it can be tempting to ruminate on it and to indulge in that thought. Instead, we are called to take those thoughts captive and overcome them with good, and we can do that through prayer and submitting or confessing those thoughts to God.
8. Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we have so many wonderful gifts, and one of those is experiencing His peace. The peace of Christ surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds. When we pray, we can ask God to fill our hearts and minds with His peace, and remove any fearful, or unwanted thoughts from our minds.
9. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
What glorious news for everyone who is in Christ. Whether you are struggling with sinful thoughts, flashbacks from traumatic events, or experiencing unwanted thoughts of some sort, those thoughts do not have a hold on you anymore. The reminder that you are a new creation and that the old has gone and the new has come is something that we often need when old thoughts creep back in.
10. Romans 13:14
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
When you’re dealing with thoughts that are intrusive, or tempting, it can sometimes lead you to gratify the desires of the flesh. When we clothe ourselves with Christ, we put on the qualities or rather fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we clothe ourselves with Christ our main aim will not be to find more ways to gratify our flesh but rather how we can glorify Christ.
11. Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We all have things in our lives that may weigh us down, or hinder us in our walk with Christ. There are sins, and thoughts that entangle us, and keep us from running the race of faith freely. God calls us to throw off those things that hinder us and keep us from running the race God has marked out for us with perseverance.
12. Psalm 94:19
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
When we are struggling with thoughts that incite anxiety within us, we can find comfort in the presence of Christ, and be strengthened with joy.
13. Ephesians 4:22-24
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
In our new, redeemed lives, we can look back to the way we used to be and recognize how God has changed us. Every day we are called to put off the ways of our former self, which is enslaved to sin. God has given us a new self, which is not corrupted by its deceitful desires, but is renewed in the attitude of our minds.
14. Romans 8:5-6
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
God has called us to live according to the Spirit not according to the flesh. When we live according to the flesh and only seek to fulfill the desires of our flesh, our minds will be set on the things of the flesh. We fight against the thoughts of the flesh, by living according to the Spirit and setting our minds on what the Spirit desires.
15. Romans 6:12-14
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
We can offer parts of our bodies, including our minds as instruments of sin and wickedness when we give into our fleshly thoughts and desires. But God has called us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice for His glory and to do His will, so we can become instruments of righteousness.
16. Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
When we are battling with intrusive thoughts, we can bring them to God in prayer, and allow His word to bring light to the places in our hearts or minds that are not fully surrendered to Christ. God’s word is able to discern the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts and bring conviction, and instruction.
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