How to Philippians 4:8 Every Negative Thought

Do you struggle with negative thoughts? If so, you most certainly aren’t alone! Today my friend Candace shares her secret tool for how to overcome every negative thought. This is gold, here. 

My dear husband calls me his little “half-empty” wife. This wonderful pet name stems from my incredible ability to see the negative in everything. He, on the other hand, is extremely “half-full” in every sense of the phrase.

I’ve often wondered what causes people to be at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum in this important area. One of our big differences is the fact my husband has always known Christ, even as a small child. I truly believe his strong faith and knowledge of the Word keep his thoughts in a positive direction and help him know how to avoid negative thoughts.

I spent most of my life as an unbeliever. Only in the past 5 years have I come to not only want to know Christ more but to also follow Him in the way He has instructed us. I’m learning that following His Word can help me not only take those negative thoughts captive, but it also allows me to truly find freedom. 

Use this resource to overcome every negative thought.

How to Philippians 4:8 Every Negative Thought

A few months ago, I did a wonderful Bible study called the Hem of His Garment. We learned how to stop negative thinking, and that was through the use of 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.”

So we took it upon ourselves to change “Philippians 4:8” from a noun to a verb. In order to take those unnecessary thoughts captive, we would need to Philippians 4 verse 8 every negative string of words that came to mind. 

Is the thought True? Is it Noble? Right? Pure? Lovely? Admirable? Excellent? Praiseworthy?

This seems like a long list to live up to for any fleeting negative thoughts that come to mind, but honestly, by putting the things we are telling ourselves through this process, our minds can truly be transformed. I must admit to realizing I spent a lot of time fighting negative thoughts. It was quite unnerving at first.

Here’s one of the many great things about this verse: Telling ourselves only that which is excellent or praiseworthy completely transforms not only our minds, but our lives as well.

Being a negative person is exhausting. My many untrue and very unlovely thoughts make me physically tired. I’ve actually visited doctors in the past trying to find a diagnosis, something I could just take a little pill for, but I never found any comfort or answers on that route.

Philippians 4:8 creates the path to peace. Learning to abide in Christ is the only way to true freedom. Through His Word, we can learn how not to be a negative person.

Until I came to accept these simple, but powerful statements, my mind was trapped in negativity. I continued to live a “half-empty” life, just as I had for far too many years. Those sad, unnecessary thoughts made me feel less than, unworthy, and incredibly anxious, all things Christ definitely does not want clouding our judgement.

This is a work in progress for me. Negativity is a hard habit to break, and learning to stop negative thoughts takes time. But, I truly believe this verse can transform us “half-empty” people into the “half-full” spectrum. I may never be at my husband’s level and that’s ok. Progress, not perfection… 

Challenge for Good Thinking

Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on these things - things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy. These help us take control of every negative thought.


My challenge to you is this: Philippians 4:8 the next negative thought that forces its way into your precious mind. It can be one of the many lies in the form of self-condemnation, destructive words about a friend or family member, or anything else that is even slightly less than excellent or praiseworthy.

Try keeping a journal tracking the list of negative thoughts that arise to see patterns in your unhealthy thinking, or in your glory hunger. Create a column for true phrases, completely changing each negative thought into something that contains each of the qualities we are told to think about. These are the words we want to begin telling ourselves.

I hope you quickly see how life-changing this simple activity can be in helping us to avoid negative thoughts. Are there any recurring phrases you were able to change? I would love to hear about your experience.

There is a reason the Bible has withstood the test of time. Let’s start following the important instructions found within its pages. We can find true peace and freedom there. 

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How Not to be a Negative Person

Candace CreatesCandace Playforth is a wife, mom, Jesus follower, serenity seeker, and writer sharing her messy life to encourage others. She blogs about faith, life, and creative pursuits at Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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  1. Ah yes… But I call myself “REALISTIC”… LOL I get this soo much, Candace. I’m a worrier- and worrier tend to think of ALL the POSSIBLE negative outcomes…

    This is one of my favorite verses. Absolute favorite. I especially love the path to get to this part- verses 6 and 7. I find in my worrying, I need to offer up all my anxieties first to God and seal it with trusting He is sovereign over it all- Then I can feel the freedom of 4:8.

    1. Realistic :). I just adore you, Chris. Worry is what gets me every time too. It can be so overwhelming. Keep offering it up to Him, my friend. He is truly the way out.

  2. Yes I agree with u.. I have been doing this off and on for years. It has been slow and fast I am looking to be constantly changed and have been. That is where my Joy definitely has come from. And the change has been overwhelming when it has been so quick. Then I struggle again not really realizing and forgetting it will take a scripture to combat the negative thoughts. Just reading this today is in line with my devotion time specific to this week. Thank u for your gentle reminder in His word we will prosper in HIM, Jesus our Lord. Thank u for your encouraging words and praise to our God. For He is worthy of our Praises!! Hugs, Jennifer:)

    1. It’s been an ongoing battle with me as well, Jennifer. Staying in His word does wonders, but I forget to go there far too often. I can completely relate :). Hugs to you!

  3. What a great idea Candace a thought journal to help us get rid of the negative! Changing how we think and talk to ourselves is so very important. I love this! Pinned!

    1. Journaling is such an amazing tool, Jen. It helps me tremendously, but I don’t use it near as often as I could. Thanks for the pin, my friend :).

  4. Thank you, Candace, for this encouraging piece! Ephesians 4:8 works when we work it – daily!

    Your suggestion of journaling this process is great – I’m going to do just that!

    Thanks again and may God continue to guide, encourage, inspire, comfort and bless you mightily!

    1. I would love to hear how the journaling works out for you, Jennifer. You are so right about using the verse daily. I will stay with it for a while and then slowly start to slip away. Taking my thoughts through that perfect checklist straightens me right back out :). Many blessings to you as well!

  5. I love that verse, Candace. I’ve claimed it for myself more times than I’d like to know because it’s easy for me to veer off in a discouraged, negative direction.

    Gratitude for all the good that God is doing in our lives, however small, has been like hitting the re-set button for me.

    Thanks for going there today. I leave here encouraged!

    1. It’s so easy for me to veer off as well, Linda. I can completely relate, my friend. I love the thought of a re-set button. Thanks for that :). What a perfect visual.

  6. This was a great post. Lately, I’ve been trying to change the way I think. Less complaining and more gratitude. Being more grateful has been wonderful for me. It can be hard to change your thoughts, but it’s so worth it.

    1. Gratitude changes everything, Sonya. I think it’s impossible to be full of gratitude and complain at the same time. You are so right about both how difficult it can be and the incredible worth of this attitude change.

  7. Oh wow, this is so powerful Candace. Your words resonated with me. I struggle with negative self-talk. I am definitely going to try the strategy of reciting Philippians 4:8!

    Thank you so much for sharing (and thank you Arabah Joy for hosting).

    1. This is a wonderful habit for us negative self-talkers to start, Jennifer. It will eventually just become second nature. I’m still working towards that :). I’m so glad this spoke to you, my friend. I hope this strategy serves you well.

  8. Hello tomorrow I will be preaching this to my Church!!!! Thank you for this wisdom!!!!

    1. What an important sermon for your Church, Armando. Praying you will all find freedom from those difficult negative thoughts that creep in. Blessings to you!

  9. Candace, tell me more about The Hem of Hus Garment Bible study, please. Very interested in doing the study. Thanks, sweetie!

    1. Hi Mary! Here’s the link for more information: I really got a lot out of it. The subtitle of the study is “hope for those who need healing.” It was created for people who have been through some type of trauma, but I think that pretty much covers all of us :). If you follow the link, there is a button to testimonies. Check those out as well. Let me know if you have any other questions about it and I’ll try to help!

  10. Thanks for your post,when saint,Paul wrote this his intention was very clear that we should always rejoice in the lord.verse 4:4. We cannot rejoice in the lord unless we fill our minds with those things that are mentioned in the verse,4:8.In our day to day life as we come across,so many trials and temptations putting these things in to practice is not possible as our flesh will not give in,having said that,Paul also says in the verse 4:13,that he has the strength to face all conditions by the power that christ gives him. So my experience is ,Jesus christ is every thing and unless he gives you grace power,the points that are in verse 4:8 will be always negative. I may be wrong but this is my belief. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts, keep up your work and god will bless you more and more.PRAISE BE TO HIS HOLY NAME.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here, Kingsley. Jesus is paramount in my experience as well. He makes all things possible. Blessings to you!

  11. Thank you for this practical way of dealing with negative thoughts. I lost my only child December 11 2016 and the thoughts in my head are driving me crazy.

    1. Hi Shade,

      I am so very sorry to hear that you lost your only child. I lost my only child also and I have an idea of some of the thoughts that you may be dealing with.

      I am praying for you and your family.


  12. ~Beautiful article– such encouragement for us negative-nellies~ *Sincere thanks for sharing it! :) :) **Happy Easter weekend to you & yours~~ <3

  13. Can you give an example? Mainly like if a fellow believer purposely ignores you or says something unkind to you about a family member.
    How do I change my thoughts? Struggling here with my walk with God and being part of a church after being hurt badly. Thanks!

  14. “There is a reason the Bible has withstood the test of time. Let’s start following the important instructions found within its pages. We can find true peace and freedom there.”
    AMEN! I absolutely love the concept of turning Phil. 4:8 into a verb.
    Thank you for the inspiration & encouragement.

  15. I think this verse (along with verses 6 and 7) goes amazingly well with 2 Timothy 1:7, which is one of my favorites I worry a lot. God hasn’t given me this spirit of fear, which means it has come from another source. Either my sinful broken human nature or from the evil-doer of this world. This verse gives me a focus to have instead of fear, a place to focus my strong mind that God has given me. God doesn’t give me this unnecessary worry. It comes from somewhere else that isn’t of Him.

  16. I was a Sunday school teacher a few years back and was given a CD that had a song on it called Just think about that. It was that verse, and so beautiful and it really helps me when I start to think about negative things

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful verse, I Love this verse, but never took it for this issue in my life. I am too a negative person, but also thing how to bless people and encourage them too,, . I am a pastor’s wife and have to deal with so many people. It’s not easy bc. Some are themselves negative and couse so much pain in the body of Christ, and in my heart. I have to talk to them , pray with them, listen to them… and thus make me think negative and dwell on some of their problems. My negative person in me, makes me tired too, it eats me up, and makes me sick too. It makes me sad, and angry too. My husband tells me too, tgat I see the cup half empty. The other personninnme is very friendly, kind, compassionate, funny,, I bring a lot of smiles on the faces of people I interact with.
    I will have to pray about the negative issue, read more verses wichbwill help me in this regard.
    Thanks again,
    Mariana Percy, from Charlotte NC

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