through His Word
An Article Found in the March 2020 Issue of Refresh Bible Study Magazine
by Krystal Weeks
How can we win the war over our dark thoughts? A battle is going on between good and evil in our minds. I have personally experienced it. In my early years, the running monologue in my head was, “You’re too skinny, you have buck teeth, you have to prove yourself by making good grades. You’re all alone, because no one thinks like you do.”
Satan filled my thoughts with self-condemnation. Satan’s cunning, deception, and lies originated in the Garden of Eden, and have continued throughout the ages. In Paul’s time, he admonished the early Christians not to let Satan entrap them with his deceit. He wrote, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV). How can we break Satan’s hold on our thoughts?
Let God’s Love Shatter Your Dark Thoughts
Most of my thoughts growing up focused on serving the Lord. I sang duets with my sister, studied the Bible, and taught Sunday school, but the mantra continued, “You are not good enough to deserve God’s love.”
When I was in college, I thought, “No one cares about me here. I am all alone.” But then God sent me a reminder that He loved me then, and He loves me now. That reminder was in a letter my husband wrote to me during my first year of college. We were engaged to be married in June, and talked every day, but sometimes he also wrote me letters.
I told Donnie, “None of those girls believe like I do.”
He wrote, “Krystal, please don’t worry about what other people say about how they believe. I’m proud for your beliefs and what you stand up for. God is God, and God is love. Whenever you have a little problem, pray to God; believe me, it helps. Krystal, I just had to tell you these few lines, because it seemed like God is right here with me telling me what to write. Until I see you, my love and prayers are with you. Please don’t forget God is with you.”
I found this letter recently, and when I read it again, I was moved to tears. God’s love had sustained me when I thought no one cared. Satan had deceived me, distracted me, and used my self-deprecating thoughts to make me doubt God’s love. In spite of my doubts, God’s unfailing love shattered the hold Satan had on my thoughts.
Let God Replace the Evil with Good
The devil, however, has not stopped waging war with my thoughts. He is relentless. Debilitating thoughts have plagued my mind, but Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians teaches us how to fight the battle against Satan’s deception. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds … bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV). With the power of God, we can bring our thoughts captive and under God’s control. We can defeat the enemy.
Satan puts thoughts in our heads like, “No one wants your opinion. You have offended them somehow. You don’t belong in this group. You want it all to be about you.” Thoughts like these stubbornly take residence in our hearts and minds.
One way to battle these thoughts is A Guide for Spiritual Warfare, a prayer written by Victor M. Matthews. The prayer begins with words of worship, praise, and surrender to God. It gives us a prayer to rebuke the enemy. “I refuse this day to believe the destructive thoughts the enemy has fired against me, and I hold up the Shield of Faith against all the accusations and distortion and insinuations that Satan would put into my mind.”1 The apostle Paul said, “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16 NIV). The shield of faith is our greatest weapon to repel our dark thoughts, feelings, imaginations, fears, and the lies Satan hurls at us.
In ancient warfare, the soldiers fired flaming darts in rapid succession to frighten their foe and cause him to drop his shield and be defeated. In the Christian’s battle of the mind, our faith blocks and extinguishes those flaming darts. We can replace evil thoughts with thoughts Paul recommended, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).
Let Prayerful Worship Bring Victory
Praying with my group of prayer warriors strengthens our victory in the war with our thoughts. Almost daily, we lift up intercessory prayers for our families, our churches, our nation, and our world. Once a month we pray corporately at “A House of Prayer.” I have prayed in groups before, but this is worship. We sing songs that God has put on our hearts, pray, and praise God for hearing our prayers. We read Scripture out loud, and pray into it.
Not long after I joined the group, they anointed my head with oil and prayed, “In the name of Jesus we ask You, God, to take all insecurities, fear, pride, and doubt from Krystal’s mind. Give her peace in every area of her life.” I felt like a weight had been lifted from my heart and mind. I was at peace. We can all win the battle.
The Victory is ours because:
- Satan was defeated at the cross (Hebrews 2:14, Colossians 2:14-15).
- Jesus destroyed the work of the devil (Colossians 2:14-15).
- We are victors in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-58).
- God gives us power to resist Satan and his demons (1 John 4:4).
- We put on the “whole armor of God,” and live daily in the victory we already possess (Ephesians 6:13-17).
We can break the strongholds of the enemy by capturing our thoughts with truth, living in the light of God’s love, and holding up our shield of faith. Satan is a formidable opponent, but God has defeated him and his evil demons through the death of Christ on the cross. He has delivered us from our thoughts of fear, doubt, and insecurity. As believers, we have been transformed, and we are now new creations in Christ Jesus. We are no longer in the kingdom of darkness. We can and will be able to resist the enemy’s attempt to “deceive,” “accuse,” and “cast doubt” when we stand firm in God’s Word.
Dear God, We thank You for loving us and giving us the power to replace the dark thoughts that the roaring lion—the devil, our invisible foe—has put into our hearts and minds. We are putting on the armor of God and lifting high our shield of faith to extinguish Satan’s fiery darts. Give us the wisdom and strength to take our thoughts captive and not give in to fear, discouragement, or deceptions! Remind us the enemy is defeated in our lives when we depend on You, because of Your Son’s victory on the cross. Amen.
- Read and discuss the Scriptures from “The victory is ours” section of this study. How can we apply these words to our lives?
- Of the three ways to defeat Satan’s influence on our thoughts—God’s love, replacing bad thoughts with good ones, and prayerful worship—which one do you think would help you the most?
- Has God given you victory over negative thoughts? What encouragement would you pass on to someone else based on what you’ve seen God do?
- In what other ways can we sustain the victory we have won in taking every thought captive to Christ?
1 Victor M. Matthews, A Guide for Spiritual Warfare brochure. Also found online at https://drvictormatthews.org/sites/drvictormatthews.org/files/study_guides/Warfare%20Prayer_0.pdf.
Krystal Weeks is a Christian writer who uses her blog and articles to encourage believers to have a closer relationship with Christ. Using the theme of Butterfly Hope, she shows how God can bring renewal in any situation. She also has a heart for evangelism. She has participated in mission trips to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Brazil. She gives God the glory for her opportunities to witness.
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