By: Norm Rasmussen
Our thoughts are the world in which each of us live. God wants our world inside our mind to be filled with love, joy, peace, hope and faith in Him.
God wants us to understand the
crucial importance of guarding our thought life, for if we don't guard it,
there is SOMEONE who is hell-bent on trying to manipulate us into thinking
the way he wants us thinking. That person is Satan ' God's greatest enemy
and our greatest enemy.
Most new Christians
underestimate Satan and the demons that do his bidding. Demonic forces have
been allowed by God to mightily influence our thinking whether we like it or
not. The New Testament Bible tells us in so many ways the importance of
guarding our thought life against demonic influences, and also tells us HOW
to guard our thought life.
2 Corinthians 10:5 makes it very clear
that God is trying to tell us the importance of guarding our thought life: '
Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ is an ongoing maturing process. None of us master it all the time completely, but that certainly doesn't mean we should just ignore the crucial importance of working at it every moment we are awake. Satan works non-stop to influence our thinking, so why shouldn't we work non-stop to not let his tactics against us prosper?
There are three sources that
provide our thoughts: 1) God; 2) Satan 3) Ourselves. God wants us to learn how to discern WHO is doing our
thinking for us.
Understanding some of the most
common ways Satan has at his disposal to manipulate our thoughts can greatly
help us stop his attacks against our mind. Let's list them:
1) Our failure to realize how
important it is to know WHO God says we are in Christ. The following writing
should be studied by every Christian who doesn't KNOW the importance of
realizing WHO God says they are in Christ:
2) Our failure to realize that
the Word of God is more powerful than anything Satan can throw at a
Christian. God wants us immersed in His Word to understand Him and His ways,
and to let His Word wisely applied counter the thoughts of Satan. God tells
us in His Word:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)
The help of God through the
power of His Word helps us more clearly discern whether our thoughts are of
God - of ourselves - or of Satan. Asking God to help us clearly examine
our motives (intents)
before we follow through with our intentions is all a part of learning to walk in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit daily.
Many Christians have yet learned - or have grown dazed from discouragement - that the Word of God is God's WAR MANUAL for Christians. If Christians aren't doing anything to threaten Satan's plans on this planet, chances are good that these would be considered "Prisoner Of War Christians."
3) Our failure to realize that our emotions and evil circumstances are the catalyst Satan is always trying to use against us to establish his thoughts in our mind.
A: BELIEVING SATAN'S LIES AND NOT REALIZING IT. Here is what God has to say about Satan when speaking to an audience opposing Him: You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)
Jesus warns us that when Satan lies, it is to be expected because it is completely consistent with his character; in other words, lying comes quite naturally to Satan. And not only is he a liar, he is also a murderer. Christians should understand this fact ' the devil wants to bring death to you. He wants to murder your purity, he wants to kill your happiness, he wants to destroy your spiritual life, and he wants nothing more than your death. If you are a Christian, your death takes your influence out of this world. If you are not a Christian, your death delivers you into his evil hands. He will tell any lie, and make up any accusation, in order to kill you. (See: John 10:10)
Deception always wraps itself in the best 'sheep's wool' it can find. Otherwise it would have no chance of deceiving the sheep! Why do you think the Bible warns of 'SEDUCING' spirits in the Last Days ' and 'LYING' signs and wonders? If the deception was not so 'seductive' then nobody would fall for it. The sophistication of demonic deception is only going to grow more prolific:
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1).
Jesus told us clearly that it was to be perhaps the most important component of Christianity Christians were to be vigilant in as the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer: "Take heed that no one deceives you." (Matthew 24:4). Jesus is speaking this to His disciples. He was speaking it to CHRISTIANS. You and I!
Satan has been allowed by God - until God brings it to a halt one day, which He WILL - to implement DOUBT and UNBELIEF about the true things of God on a scale that is nothing short of mind-boggling, if you ask me. Here are the more common lies Satan strives 24/7 to get children up to adults to begin believing because:
"God doesn't care about you"
"God doesn't love you..."
"God is out to get you..."
"God is mean and cruel..."
"God doesn't want you happy..."
"There is no such thing as a REAL Satan nor REAL demons..."
"The devil or demons can't touch nor influence you in any way..."
"There is no REAL hell..."
"Hell is not a literal place..."
"There is no heaven..."
"There is no God..."
"All Christians want to do is control you..."
"All churches want is to control you and take your money..."
"There is more than just one way to get to heaven...
(NOTICE: Satan doesn't beat the drum of: 'There is more than ONE way to have your sins forgiven so they won't be held against you on the Judgment Day.' He sets up the diversionary decoy of: "There is more than One way to get to heaven").
"Anyone teaching the Bible anymore is the sole source - the only trustworthy source - God has provided the human race to understand, relate, serve, please God, truly understand evil and the future ... needs to be marginalized and ultimately silenced, because ..."
"Sin is not sin if enough people or the "right" influential people either say it isn't, or simply stay silent about it ..."
"There are no such things as evil demonic spirits. There are spirits, but they are just the spirits of people who have lived on this planet, or another planet or from another dimension who want to make our life more enjoyable to live, warn us, guide us, bless us, teach us, empower us ..."
"Having sex with spirits is a wonderful way of having your sexual needs met ..."
"Aliens exist and we need not fear them ..."
"We are the TRUE church - God's TRUE disciples - Christ's TRUE followers - so be a part of us ..."
"There is no such thing as half-truths ..."
"You don't have to be a Jew to practice old Jewish spiritual customs that God wants you practicing to receive greater favor from Him ..."
"Jesus Christ was NOT fully God in human form ..."
"There have been and are MANY Prophets who spoke on behalf of God ..."
"Jesus was just a prophet of God, and just one of many, but not God Himself in human form ..."
"You can't trust ANY Bible translations anymore because so many translations can't possibly be correct ..."
"The Bible is not to be believed in a literal fashion. It's just to be spiritualized, because if it were to be believed literally, it would ..."
"There will be no Judgment Day after this life ..."
"All of God's angels are good, and God wouldn't let there be any bad angels who would try to hurt us ..."
"Jesus committed one sin - that being the sin of suicide; therefore He wasn't qualified to be the only acceptable sacrifice paying atonement for the sins of people ..."
"Marriage is between two whomever or whatever someone wants it to be ..."
For those living in the United States, perhaps we'll see the day when certain members of the Supreme Court of our land states that it is legal for a multi-personality individual to marry one or more personalities within himself or herself or itself, because baby ... multi-genders' have now found an endearing launching pad unlike ever before! Anything now goes! Righteousness has been thrown out the door and unrighteousness no longer has restraints like it once did. ...Whatever gets votes to get elected and stay elected ...Whatever gives a political party control ...Whatever gives one leader greater power and influence. [These are just some of the lies Satan works overtime to get the masses of people to believe. He's creative! Hang loose. We haven't seen anything YET if God the Father keeps delaying more forms of intensified judgment against unrighteousness, and/or Jesus doesn't return pretty soon to establish global rule!"]
Satan has more ways to get us to believe his lies than the number of craters on the moon. The following list is just a few ways, naming some of his more common ways of trying to manipulate our thinking:
1) Through outright false bible teachers. Through semi-reputable bible teachers teaching false bible doctrine(s). Through Christians operating in demonic deception without realizing it. (Christians giving other struggling Christians false prophetic "words" is just one of several different ways this evil manifests. False manifestations of the Holy Spirit to try to convince participants that it's the real thing with the end result in trying to help shipwreck their relationship with Christ to various degrees).
2) Through the media and increasingly, the lies told to us by certain influential people in the government.
3) Through friends and associates we trust, giving us advice.
4) Through those who teach our children and the resources they use to teach them with (remember - we adults were once children).
5) Through lack of understanding in how to study the Word of God wisely for ourselves.
6) Unfortunately, through medical workers and counselors we pay to try to help us get better. (I'm a believer that Christians need to be a lot more diligent than ever before in seeking GOD FIRST and acquiring His peace, or lack of it, before taking the advice of doctors these days as though it shouldn't be questioned.)
7) Through dreams and visions.
8) Through directly planting
thoughts into our mind without discerning who or where it came from.
B: ANGER is one of the most intense emotions Satan tries to use against us. When someone or some situation causes anger to rise up in you, one or more demons become energized and will THEN try to manipulate you into doing things that will only lead to various degrees of pain and ultimate regret. For instance:
One or more demons
will NEVER try to manipulate you to begin praising Jesus Christ when you are
angry, will they?
One or more demons will NEVER try to manipulate you to pray kind words for the person or situation that has angered you, will they?
One or more demons will NEVER try to manipulate you to be thankful to God for what you have instead of what you don't have in your anger, will they?
One or more demons will NEVER try to manipulate you to have more faith in God and faith in His word when you are angry, will they?
Short term anger issues can trigger destructive rage in us like nothing else can. Longer term unresolved anger issues has been the root cause for what Satan has used to send more people to prison than any other reason. Unresolved buried anger issues triggers bitterness, resentful, gossip, slandering, rebellion against authority, revenge, intense temptations to commit suicide, opens doors for depression, can literally bring on all different forms of mental illness ... demonic oppression of all kinds. Dealing with anger quickly is the wisest thing a Christian can learn!
C: Our need to receive LOVE and give love back is interwoven with the three things that follows:
1) Our SEX DRIVE can be more
useful to Satan than anger. Our desire for sexual pleasure often is linked
with emotional pleasure (more so with females than males). God tries to warn
us over and over in various ways in His Word that a person who does not
continue to ask and trust God to help them keep their sex drive contained
and their relationships with others harnessed by Holy Spirit controlled
righteousness are headed for pain that God would like them to be freed from.
2) Our LONELINESS for intimate
emotional gratification usually dovetails with our sex drive. Christians who
fail to realize that Satan will use our loneliness to lead us into very
unhealthy relationships with others can contribute to shipwrecking our
relationship with God like little else can.
3) Our need for ACCEPTANCE and
worse yet ' UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE ' is something every person longs for,
and Satan will manipulate a person to do things that are beyond the
comprehension of many who seek to be accepted.
D: Dovetailing with acceptance is one's need to feel IMPORTANT (Importance) ' to be SIGNIFICANT ' to feel POWERFUL over their own lives and more so, others. God has made men to feel important more than women. Men are wired from birth to conquer, to excel, to win, to control. Christians who don't realize how important they are to God the Father in Christ Jesus can be putty in the hands of Satan to lead them down paths of pain that most likely makes God cry. Anything we pursue more than purposing to glorify God in accordance with wisely applied Truth in this life - God puts it in the category of an idol. "We are to have NO idols before us."
E: Most of us are wired to desire POWER in one form or another. Lust for power is nothing less than flat-out sin. Whether a wife will admit it or not, she constantly desires power over her husband. Likewise, the husband demands to have power over his wife, or else he'll dump her in one form or fashion or try to destroy her, if she isn't complying ' sooner or later. Because we are all created with a nature to sin, children are ever trying to gain control (gain power) over their parents. Our sin nature hates being controlled by anything or anyone. Our sin nature HATES being controlled by God. Rather ' if we had our way ' we would LOVE to control God! That conflict most of us Christians have, if we'll be honest with ourselves, is that we can't control God like we would LOVE to be able to. That is the core reason why we struggle so much in our prayer life. God won't let anyone control Him, and He knows in each of us that He has to be very wise in just how many prayers He answers for us the way we would like Him to, because otherwise He would become little more than our 'magical genie' in the sky giving us everything our heart's desire.
Seriously ' I'm completely
convinced that God would LOVE to answer many of the prayers we pray to Him,
but He doesn't over this very issue: Our lust to control.
Pride may have been the spark
that fueled Satan's rebellion against God in the heavens, but Satan's lust
to NOT be controlled by God added powerful extra fuel to that growing flame.
Many people will risk a
Judgment Day and hell simply because their lust to not be controlled is the
very license and freedom it grants Satan to keep them spiritually deceived
until they die.
God has created each of us to
walk in GOD'S Holy Spirit guided power to assist in our walking in obedience
to God's desires ' walking righteousness is saying it another way. Satan
does everything he can to try to keep us from walking in the power that God
will allow to flow through us for HIS righteous causes.
Each of us will be controlled
by something. God wants us to be SELF-CONTROLLED by walking daily in harmony
with the Holy Spirit. Satan wants us forgetting the wisdom of walking in
daily harmony with the Holy Spirit, and Satan is relentless in trying to
convince us into thinking we can do perfectly well running our lives WITHOUT
anyone's help ' which ESPECIALLY includes the Holy Spirit.
God never forces us to be Holy Spirit assisted in our thought lives. We must always invite His help: Daily, hourly, minute by minute. Our sinful nature rebels against relying on the help of the Holy Spirit to help us do our thinking, which is why 'walking in the Spirit' takes a TON of daily discipline and wisdom to stay engaged in, doesn't it?
F: FEAR is a powerful emotion Satan uses to manipulate our thoughts that will trigger our actions. Godly fear is healthy for us. Anything other than Godly fear is a paralyzing weapon that Satan loves to use against us. Some people are so bound up in fear that only deliverance prayer can dislodge it from another. Asking for prayer to get victory over demonic fear from our elders in the local church is all a part of James 5:14-16. Sometimes God will deliver us from strongholds of fear by some sustained fasting and prayer by ourselves, and/or by others who are willing to help battle with us.
G: Mental and/or physical AFFLICTIONS are two conditions Satan can manipulate our thoughts with if we aren't wise to his tactics. Depression alone can drive a person to choose to commit suicide. Physical pain can lead a person to give in to the temptation to take their life. Lack of restful sleep can also open doors for Satan to enter and influence our thought life.
H: POVERTY is a condition that can cloud our thought life. So much stress can accompany poverty. Stress of worry, hopelessness, anger toward God, anger toward society, anger toward authority. It can lead us into crime, drug addiction, convince us we have no real purpose for living.
I: BEING THANKLESS to God is more of an attitude than an emotion. It can open legal doors for Satan that God nor holy angels wishes on no one. A thankless Christian allows Satan to steal one's hope, peace, faith: It causes lack of confidence in one's prayers -- apathy in desiring to walk in the Spirit. Thankless Christians are some of the most tormented people you'll ever meet. It is so easy to be a thankless Christian. I speak from GREAT personal experience from the past. It is an arena I have to be so careful in with physical afflictions of my own that greatly affect the quality of sleep I get. Satan full well knows God tends to withhold His favor from Christians who harbor being thankless for very long.
In sum total: Jesus told us that the "cares of this life" can give Satan a foothold in our life to one degree or another, and the wise Christian will seek God frequently to ask Him to reveal to them if the cares of this life have pried up a tiny crack in THEIR life, and then what to do about it to close that crack before Satan slips through it.
The battleground is indeed
mind ' specifically our thought life. Satan will seduce our thought life if
we let him. Left unaware and unguarded: He'll rape and plunder your
mind and feed your bloody remains to the starving wolves. You don't need to ask him to ' he'll voluntarily do it whether
you ask him to or not! Satan desires to make you and I his slave. His slave
to unrighteousness. His evil experiment -- his evil conquest ' one more
person to put in his little black book of conquests (victims) to give him
sadistic pleasure. As joy and peace love company ' so does evil.
Be wise dear reader. Don't allow Satan to yank you around like a helpless puppet in this life by manipulating your thought life (which then motivates you to ACT and REACT). God has given you every weapon you need in His Word to keep Satan at bay. Just never underestimate Satan's relentless desire to find a way to enter into your house in trying to keep him at bay. Satan never tires. But more importantly, neither does God.
Walking in the Spirit is our
greatest weapon against our self-willed carnal nature (flesh) and the attacks of Satan against us. Walking in the
Spirit helps us realize when our own flesh is tempting us and when Satan is tempting us, and THEN how to refuse to
give in to our fleshly temptations and/or Satan's temptation(s).
Walking in the Spirit helps us
be more vigilant in discerning Satan's attacks against us in every way, and
then asking and trusting the Holy Spirit to give us our best course of
action in blocking Satan's advance.
Walking in the Spirit may seem
so difficult at times when we are in one or more fiery trials we find
ourselves having to deal with ' but digging in with the Holy Spirit to help
us deal with our trials is what God desires every Christian seek to excel
Go forth, mighty man or woman
of God. Seek to EXCELL in your walk with the Holy Spirit when Satan is
raking you through the coals. Learn what God wants you to learn from your
trials. There is usually something very, very important God wants us to
learn from our trials that we can't learn otherwise. God doesn't want us
wasting our fiery trials. Satan does - - God DOESN'T.
If Jesus learned obedience
through the fiery trials He suffered, which (Hebrews 5:8) says He did
- suffering qualified Him to be the PERFECT high priest for mankind to atone
for our sins - and through that qualifying process I'm guessing He learned greater wisdom
and perhaps determination in how to resist temptations
to sin, because He was going to need the ability to resist going to the
cross unlike anything any of us could ever possibly imagine if we were in
His shoes in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood because
Satan's temptation to say 'No!' to the cross was so intense) ' that is our
clue that God wants you and I learning important things from our fiery
trials as well. Sometimes it's greater obedience we are to learn. Sometimes
it's wisdom. Sometimes it's simply the understanding that this world is
Satan's domain to try to make our life a living hell until we get to heaven.
Let's not make it any easier for him, what do you say? Don't let him manipulate
your thoughts. Let them be guarded and guided by the very One who gave you a
mind to think: His name is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He lives inside of you.
The Bible says He does. We must always keep our faith activated and
protected in realizing that we are really without excuse in letting Satan
(from without) having more control over our thoughts than God desires to who
not only resides in heaven ' yet fully resides inside those who have turned
their lives over to Jesus Christ:
For the dedicated Christian: Greater is the Holy Spirit who is inside you, than he (Satan's power) who is in the world. (Paraphrased - See: 1 John 4:4)
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