The Tactics of Satan - Invading Your Thoughts
To win battles you need to know your enemy, but more importantly, you need to know your enemy's tactics. This is especially true in a spiritual battle.
We know that our number one enemy is Satan. He is a "liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). He is "Your enemy [who] prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He is "the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:10); and because he wants to steal souls from the Lord, Satan uses our weaknesses against us in order to cause us to sin, in hopes that we will stray from God and continue to live in sin.
The Bible reveals to us the tactics that Satan uses and it also tells us exactly how to resist him so he will flee from us - and the good news is we are victorious in Christ!
Today we will look at one of the tactics that Satan uses in his battle against us - INVADING OUR THOUGHTS.
Have you ever wondered where certain thoughts come from? In a moment's notice, out-of-the-blue, negative thoughts - or even crazy thoughts - come to your mind and you have no idea where they came from. This is one of the tactics that Satan uses to fight against us.
Satan wants to fill your thoughts with doubt and fear and guilt.
The devil wants you to believe that your life is worthless or that you need to change your looks or to lose weight or that you're a failure or that no matter what you do, you will never succeed.
What's even worse, Satan does NOT want you to forget the mistakes that you've made in the past. He will constantly remind you of the negative things that you've done to others, past sins that you have already been forgiven for, and wrong choices that you've made. He will use doubt, fear, and guilt against you. Remember, Satan's goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.
But why? Why does Satan do this to us?
Well....besides the fact that Satan is the accuser, a liar, and a destroyer, he also wants you to believe that you are so bad that you don't deserve God's love, let alone His forgiveness. He also wants you to think that you are not a child of God.
If you constantly believe Satan's lies, you may eventually turn away from God -
and this is Satan's ultimate goal.
Remember, Satan will tell you anything that negates the Word of God. BUT....the good news is we have the power and authority of Christ to resist the devil and his wicked schemes.
It's important to remember that sin begins in your mind - or as the New Testament refers to it, your heart. (The belief system of the Jews was that your thoughts came from your heart.) Knowing this fact should always remind you that you have to learn how to combat your negative thoughts. If you don't learn to combat your thoughts, Satan will trap you by influencing and invading them.
Our minds are easily influenced, especially when we allow negative thoughts to start without being checked immediately. One thought can start an entire avalanche that leads to sin, ultimately sending us into a downward spiral of destruction. This is why it is important to STOP the negative and ungodly thoughts from taking root as soon as they begin.
In Proverbs 4:23 we are reminded to "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." How do we guard our hearts and minds? Well, we can definitely protect ourselves with the armor of God. But we also have to implant the Word of God within our hearts. We have to take action against the enemy.
So...how do we stop negative thoughts from trapping us or even worse, leading us down a destructive path?
It would be easy for me to say just stop the thoughts right in their tracks, but it's not always that easy. Thankfully, the Bible tells us a few things that we can and should do when these kinds of thoughts come into our minds.
Remember this: if you give Satan even an inch,
he will think he can rule your life and will try anything to do so.
How to Combat Negative Thoughts
Like I said, sometimes controlling your thoughts is easier said than done.
Thankfully, we have the Word of God to help guide us throughout our lives and guess what...the Bible includes information on how to deal with negative thinking!
There are several things we can do in order to keep Satan in check when it comes to our thoughts:
1. Submit to God
I want to start in James chapter four. Let's look at the first part of verse seven. In this passage of scripture it says: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
Submission is when we humble ourselves before the Lord and recognize that without Him, we don't even have life. We are in submission when we are living out our Christian faith in a relationship with Jesus. Submission is also allowing the Lord to move in our lives daily and being in obedience to Him, wanting only to glorify Him in all we do.
When you are in submission, you recognize that the things of this world are not worth anything, and at the same time realizing that the things of God are the only things that matter.
Submitting to His will, His way is the most fulfilling way to live.
2. Resist the Devil
Now let's look at the second part of James 4:7 which says "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
How do we resist the devil? Well, it's not always that easy, but I will say this...if we are in submission to God it does make it a lot easier!!
Honestly, resisting the devil is saying the same thing as - for example, controlling your negative thoughts, avoiding sinful situations, not walking in the flesh....basically resisting anything that is contrary to submission to God. If you are in submission, it makes it a whole lot easier to resist the devil. So both submitting and resisting really go hand-in-hand.
To resist the devil we have to take action. We have to make every effort to push negative thoughts out of our minds. We have to avoid situations that can cause us to stumble. We need to separate ourselves from people who are a bad influence. I'm sure you get the point here. To resist is to evaluate what causes us to sin and then remove it from our lives.
When we do these things, it says in the last part of James 4:7 that "[the devil] will flee from you." The devil has to flee in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ.
3. Use Your Authority in Christ
Do you realize that we have the power and authority of Christ to help us to resist the devil and everything he throws at us? In fact, this power and authority comes directly from Jesus Himself.
In Luke 9:1 it says - "Then He [Jesus] called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases."
And in Luke 10:19 we read these words that Jesus spoke - "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
It is a matter of faith to accept and to know that we truly have the power and authority of Christ. And since we know this, we have the power to resist and the authority over the devil...and we need to tap into this power and authority whenever the devil beings to strike!!
4. Renew Your Mind
We live in a fallen world where sin is all around us. For this reason it is important that we live by the words that Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, which state "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."
So...how do we renew our minds? First of all...pray. Pray for the Lord to direct your thoughts and to protect your mind from anything contrary to Him.
You also need to focus on Jesus and study your Bible. Fill your mind with HIS words, which can be used against the enemy. Remember, the Word of the Lord is the Sword of the Spirit, so His words can be used to fight off negative thinking.
Renewing your mind is an ongoing action that requires consistent and daily attention -probably even several times throughout the day.
5. Keep your Mind on Heavenly Things
For Christians, this world is not our home. So why do we focus so much on the things of this world? Colossians 3:2 tells us to "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."
I know that we all have lives to live, bills to pay, children to care for, troubles to overcome...and so much more every single day. These everyday "chores" are what cause us to lose focus on what matters most. We cannot allow the things of this world to take precedent over the things of heaven.
Keeping our focus on Jesus certainly helps when the negative things pop up. We are reminded that HE will see us through every bump in the road and give us a sense of calm during the certain storms of life.
6. Put on the Full Armor of God
Finally, we must equip ourselves with the Armor of God. This is another sure way to protect ourselves from the enemy. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
You can read a lot more about the Armor of God in my post: The Armor of God: Protecting Yourself God's Way
One final comment about our thoughts...
We need to be aware of our thoughts, meaning - pay attention to when these negative thoughts come up. For example, take note of the situations you are are facing at the time the thoughts come up...you may notice a pattern - so make sure to pray about it.
Overall, do everything you can to fill your mind with good thoughts and don't forget Paul's advice in Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
Anything other thought than what Paul points out isn't worth your time or energy and if the thoughts are negative, I promise you, they are not from the Lord.
For more tactics of Satan read my post: The Tactics of Satan: Temptation