We like to believe that we’re in charge of our life and that our thoughts are our own. Is that true or is our “mind” territory that the devil targets?
We had a recent comment/question inquiring about how the devil attacks our mind. It is a worthy question that every Christian should understand if they want to live a victorious life. Below is the Comment:
How can the devil get inside our mind and give us thoughts? After all we choose our thoughts. Is it because we are spirit beings if so could you elaborate on this. And if not please explain how he can do this when we control our thoughts? Thank you
There is so much to understand about the spiritual realm and the battle we fight during our time on earth. This question reflects a small but critical part of that battle and carries huge consequences or big benefits, depending on how we handle this situation when it happens. And it is continually happening.
God created mankind in His image… We are spirit beings. We have a soul (mind, will and emotion) and we live in a natural body temporarily (to interface with a natural world).
There is a powerful purpose for each of the three parts of us, and it is beneficial to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each part in order to overcome our enemy’s attacks effectively.
First, we are spirit. By being created as a spirit being, we will live eternally and are able to communicate with God, our Creator and Father. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24.
If we are born-again, we will have relationship with God now and forever. However, if we die without being born-again, we will still live eternally, but in separation from God forever. Be aware that those who serve Satan (who is also a spirit being)–and there are many who do–also communicate with him through their spirit.
The regenerated spirit we receive when we are born-again, is the Spirit of Jesus Christ Who comes to reside in us. The Holy Spirit then helps us throughout life. He comforts us, guides us, teaches us and ministers to us. He also ministers through us to the world around us in a multitude of ways. One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is to help us discern truth from deception.
Our soul, the second part of us, which is also eternal, is the interface between our spirit and body. It contains our mind (the discussion of today’s message), our will (choices), and our emotions (feelings). Our soul is the primary target of the devil while we live on this earth. Why is the mind so important to Satan? Because it is our mind that gives us information from which we make choices. Satan cannot make choices for us. Neither will God. We are free agents who God has given the freedom choice.
We are the prize in a spiritual tug-o-war. The Holy Spirit is speaking to our heart (spirit) and the devil is speaking to our mind. If our mind is not renewed then we are carnally minded. We tend to listen to the thoughts in our mind and react. If we are spirit-minded (renewed in our thinking), we listen with spiritual ears to the Holy Spirit and respond.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (emphasis mine).
The weapons Satan uses are “common to man.” That means that every person on earth is susceptible to them–whether they are born-again or not. He uses thoughts, emotions and physical symptoms and circumstances. These are things that can be discerned with the senses (body) or reacted to emotionally (soul). But the spirit is not required in order to discern them.
God uses the Holy Spirit as His ambassador to speak to our spirt as to what is true. We must discern these messages spiritually, not with the senses and not with our emotions. Once we do, we should respond in faith.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1. This is a spiritual equation, a reality that is discerned and recognized by the spirit, not by the physical senses or emotions (i.e. things common to all mankind).
Back to the focus of today’s message–the mind and the thoughts that the devil inserts. Satan gives us strategic thoughts in hope that we will choose the path he has given us. A path that leads away from God and God’s will. Will we take the bait? It is our choice.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;” Deuteronomy 30:19.
Of course, all of our thoughts are not put there by Satan… but many are. And we must be on guard enough to recognize when the enemy is at work. Satan desires us to choose a belief or path in agreement with him. Therefore his thoughts will be contrary to God’s Word and God’s ways. He brings this about through his agents–demon spirits–that attack us with thoughts, circumstances, messages and so forth.
Remember when Peter, a godly man who loved Jesus, was rebuked by Jesus for voicing his ungodly thoughts? “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16:23.
Jesus understood that Peter was repeating the thoughts in his mind, which were placed there by Satan. Satan was trying to use Peter to tempt Jesus. But Jesus, had the Holy Spirit to alert Him and He quickly recognized and rebuked the message. What Peter said was not overtly bad, in fact some might say it was said out of his love for Jesus. The problem was, it was not in agreement with God but earthly minded.
As Christians we often fall into that very trap. Saying something that seems loving but compromising God’s will. Satan is subtle and cunning. He is not called the evil genius for nothing. He has had thousands of years to perfect his strategies against mankind.
Our only hope of not being deceived is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and renewed by God’s Word. When Jesus was departing earth He told His disciples that they needed the Holy Spirit. They were already born-again. They had even gone out and ministered with the anointing of the Holy Spirit–healing the sick and delivering the demon possessed. But Jesus was letting them know there was something more permanent they needed–the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” John 16;17.
And then there is the renewing of our mind in order to think like God so that we recognize what is true from what is false. Why did God instruct us to renew our minds? Paul tells us. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.
The only way we can “prove” what is the perfect will of God is, is by conforming to God’s kingdom. And recognizing and rejecting Satan’s kingdom.
This world is Satan’s kingdom. It is not neutral… Satan temporarily controls what goes on in every system of this world. The only time he does not have authority is when a believer or group of believers establish God’s will through prayer, faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we are born-again, we suddenly become citizens of a different kingdom. I think of it sorta like an astronaut in a hostile environment. We have to operate in a space suit to maintain an environment that is not hostile to us.
Jesus explained where the kingdom of heaven resides: “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21.
Jesus told His disciples that when they went to minister, they would take the kingdom of God with them. “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” Luke 10:8-9.
The kingdom of God only goes where His people go. It is within us and ministers through us. We are an extension… an embassy of the kingdom of God in a foreign and hostile country. That’s because, legally, God currently only has access in this world through those who are part of His kingdom. We are an extension of heaven on earth.
The battle may start in our mind, but it can end there as well. We cannot stop Satan from speaking to us but we can and should recognize his voice and message as the enemy and rebuke it in order to establish what is true in its place.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6. (emphasis mine).
Always remember, With God nothing is impossible!
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