CAN SATAN PUT THOUGHTS IN YOUR MIND?
Can God read our thoughts? He certainly can! He not only knows our thoughts but also the intentions of our hearts (Genesis 6:5; Proverbs 12:5). What about Satan? Does he know our thoughts? Can he put thoughts into our minds? Is it ever true that “the Devil made me do it”?
Yes, Satan can and he does put sinful thoughts in our minds. Who has not had an unwelcome thought suddenly manifest in their mind when you weren’t thinking about like it. That is from Satan’s demons.
Sometimes he may put desires for something sinful directly into our hearts, followed by thoughts that justify those sinful desires. Other time he may do the reverse by putting deceptive thoughts in our minds that lead to sinful desires.
We see several examples of this in Scripture. During the Last Supper, we read that Satan had already put into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus (John 13:2). Judas was a thief taking money out of the disciples’ money bag (John 12:6). He was deceptive, greedy and a liar. He didn’t commit to Jesus because He wasn’t the kind of Messiah Judas wanted to follow. So, Satan intensified and directed Judas’ own sinful thoughts to the point where he was open to the idea of betraying Jesus. A lesson for us is that our own unconfessed sinfulness is like an invitation, an open door to demons to magnify and add to those thoughts. Paul refers to this in Ephesians 4:26-27 when he warns that unconfessed anger gives Satan an opportunity to develop those thoughts in us. Sinfully hating someone is like a welcome mat for Satan. And it works the other way around as well. When demons beckon us to sin with deceptive thoughts or desires, our own sin nature kicks in and makes those
We don’t know exactly how Satan interacts with our own sinful nature to do his ugly work. Our own sinfulness is like an invitation, like a welcome mat or an open door to Satan. Paul says in Ephesians 4:26–27: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” In other words, sinfully holding a grudge is like a welcome mat put out for Satan. And it works the other way around. When Satan beckons us to sin with deceptive thoughts or desires, our own sinful nature kicks in and makes those inner impulses more attractive.
When Ananias and Sapphira, early church believers, decided to lie to the apostles in order to keep back part of their pledged money, Peter asked why they allowed Satan to fill their hearts to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). They had greedy thoughts about how to keep sone money while still getting credit for giving it all. They came up with a plan and carried it out. The idea may have originated in their mind and then Satan made it seem more desirable. Or perhaps, knowing they had a love of money and public recognition, Satan put an idea about how they could have both in their mind. However, it came about, the results were tragic (Acts 5:5, 10).
Another example is how Satan motivated King David to take a census in Israel against God’s will. “Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1). He put the thought in David’s mind, and he made the thought look like military wisdom when it was, in fact, distrust in God. Perhaps there was some pride in David as the vast number of people he ruled and Satan built on that. Now matter Satan’s influence, David was still responsible and was disciplined for it (1 Chronicles 21:1-30).
Jesus says Satan is a liar, a deceiver and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). His goal is to deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He lies, he deceives, he uses half-truths – anything to influence people against trusting and obeying God. He snares people with his lies (2 Timothy 2:25-26). Only the truth sets us free (John 8:32). We stay free from this by knowing and following the truth of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:11-18).
So yes, Satan can put thoughts into our minds. He knows our thoughts and can try to manipulate them for his purpose. We are still 100% responsible for our thoughts and actions. Satan cannot force us against our will, we yield our free will to the lie and follow it. That’s why it is so important to take captive every thought that comes into our mind, separating the true from the false. “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). That means we don’t just go with every thought that pops into our mind. We make sure it lines up with the truth of God’s Word. We stay alert to anything that may come from the flesh or the enemy and not from God. We control our thoughts, we don’t them control us. We make sure very thought is good and godly: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Any thought that is not what Jesus would have must be rejected. Ask God to remove it and fill you with His truth and His thoughts only. Don’t fear Satan or his attacks. Just be aware they can happen and keep your eyes on Jesus. Satan is a defeated foe (1 John 4:4) so don’t fear him. (June 19, 2023 Doylestown, PA)
2 Corinthians 11:3 I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Where do you think demons may be trying to influence you with thoughts that are not from God? What should you do whenever you realize what is happening?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
Copyright © 2023