This morning, I woke up and immediately felt something in the air. Something was different …
I was under attack; spiritual forces of evil were working to bring me down.
When we hear about spiritual attacks, many of us quickly think of the terrifying things we once saw in “The Exorcist.” Shaking beds, green ceiling smoke and terrifying voices immediately come to mind. But often our enemy is much subtler. I believe one of the primary ways Satan attacks is through our thoughts.
Where Is My Mind?
Our enemy works every day to move our minds away from the truths revealed in the Bible. Just as that father of lies once tempted Adam and Eve with a question, he continues to use that same line of questioning in every area of God’s word. He attacks us at the level of belief with leading questions like, “You don’t really believe this stuff, do you?”
Satan knows that our thoughts make us who we are. At the end of the day, we are what we continuously think. The greatest test of who we really are is what we think about when we are alone.
What Would God Tell You?
An example from my own life is perfectionism. I can quickly become perfectionistic and drift towards thinking and believing that my only value is in my good performance. If I do well, I feel valuable. If I fail, I don’t feel valuable. On the contrary, the Bible teaches the opposite. My value is in who God says I am. God does not love me based on my performance, but because of his own grace and mercy towards me. My righteousness is and will always be a gift. So, when perfectionism crops up in my thoughts, what do I do?
In those moments, I fight against those wrong thoughts with true thoughts. In a word, I preach the gospel to myself. I remind myself what is really true and call out the errant thinking.
Here’s what that might look like for me:
“Andrew, you are starting to believe your worth is in your performance. That’s not true. Your worth is in being created in God’s image. Your worth is in who God says you are. God just asks for your faithfulness. Leave the results of your work to him.”
This type of intentional thought recalibrates my thinking by calling out the wrong idea and actively replacing it with what is really true.
How Can I Fight Negative Thoughts?
Throughout our lives, we must continuously walk through the following process.
- Identify areas of wrong thinking.
- Discover what is actually true as revealed in God’s word.
- Memorize specific verses or truths for regular meditation and for fighting negative thoughts.
This is a process that any mature Christian will engage in over and over throughout his or her life. In fact, one of the major marks of Christian maturity is the ability to identify wrong thinking and correct it quickly. Paul taught the Christians in Rome to be transformed by the renewal of their minds (Rom. 12:2). He understood growing in Christ means thinking as He thinks.
One of the reasons it’s so good for us to feed our souls regularly on the word of God is that it’s the best correction for the little lies that can grow up in our hearts over time. These subtle untrue thoughts can lead our lives astray. It was a subtle thought that led Adam and Eve to exchange paradise for a world of sin and punishment. We must remember that the worst sins men commit in this world first start as thoughts.
So we must be diligent in fighting for correct thinking. We must dive into God’s word on the lookout for places we find disagreement. And then we humble ourselves and let God teach us, remembering his thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Our lives flow out of our thoughts. Disciplined people know how to win the thought wars.
You may also be interested in It Is Well With My Soul: What To Do When Your Faith Is Put To The Test