The majority of demonizing consists of demons putting thoughts into a person’s mind or snatching thoughts out of a person’s mind. While they don’t have access to our minds and thoughts to the same extent that God does, the Bible makes it clear there is some access. Jesus said this in the sower and the seed: “Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown.” (Mark 4:15). David’s thought to take a census was demonic (I Chronicles 21:1ff; II Samuel 24:1ff). So was Ananias & Saphira’s greed (Acts 5:3) and Saul’s jealousy/anger (I Samuel 16:14-23). That’s why, when talking about spiritual warfare, Paul says we are to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Not only can Satan’s forces put wrong thoughts into our minds, they can snatch right thoughts out of our minds (Mark 4:15) so we forget them.
Feelings and emotions are fine, important and necessary. They are icing on the cake of life. They add color and enjoyment to life. God created them for this purpose. But He didn’t create them to be the source of our decision-making. Our feelings should dependent on our rational thought. When our feelings get ahead of it or away from it then trouble comes. You know in your mind that you are an OK person, yet your emotions fear you will be rejected. When feelings aren’t founded on the truth of the mind they go wrong. The truth is that you are a fine person, but your emotions reject that truth and try to do the ‘thinking’ themselves. I often tell people they need to let their mind explain reality to their emotions. When we feel our emotions are correct over our mind we err. One of the greatest needs of our emotions/feelings is security. This is closely related to love so we could say the core of our heart is love/security. Love must bring security but doesn’t always do so. Other factors can tribute to our security as well.
HOW CAN WE BE DECEIVED IF WE KNOW THE TRUTH? Do you remember the children’s story about the emperor’s new clothes? Some crooks convinced him they were making fine garments which only the enlightened could see so he pretended to see them. Everyone else did also. Then in a parade a little boy spoke the truth and everyone realized they had been believing a lie and deceiving themselves. Satan deceives us into believing a lie. But how can we be deceived if we know the truth?
1. We can be demonized. Like a drunk is influenced by alcohol so we can be by demons.
2. We can prefer to be deceived because we don’t want to face the truth or don’t like the truth, so we convince ourselves that a lie is true. We start to really believe it because we want to.
3. We let our emotions run the show instead of our mind. When we let our feelings explain reality to our emotions (reacting out of fear for example) we replace the truth with deception.
4. Our mind can be deceived, too, when we use it as the final determining factor and think absolute truth comes from it. Without the anchor of God’s Word to form our mind and correct our errors we can truly believe something based on the facts as we interpret them. But we may not be interpreting them correctly. However only God has all the facts and perfect insight, seeing the future as clearly as the past, so when we reject His truth we are open to any kind of deception.
5. Satan and demons tempt us to deception. Of course they don’t ‘sell’ their product as a black lie, but make it look as appealing and good as possible. We sometimes fall for the bait.
6. Even aside from the enemy, our natural tendency to sin (sin nature) causes us to prefer sin for we are often more interested in what is easiest and most enjoyable now instead of what is best in the long run. Our ‘flesh’ desires instant gratification and we can ‘want’ something so much that we leave all reason and balance behind.
RECOGNIZING TRUTH How does your heart know truth? How do you know when your mate is telling the truth? It’s not something you can explain or put into words. It’s not something others who don’t know your mate can tell, either. But you know them well enough to be able to read the subtleties and know what they are communicating. That takes time as a relationship grows. The more time one spends listening to God the better he knows what God is saying. The more you listen to and follow the truth, the better your heart will recognize it. Really it is His Holy Spirit in us that speaks to our thoughts (and emotions as well). He promises to reveal His truth to us (John 16:13-15).
In what ways is Satan successful in using your feelings and emotions to keep you from trusting and following God? How does He doe this with other members of your family? Pray for God’s truth to be plain in your mind, and pray for those around you who are deceived into going by their feelings.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)