When Jesus was half way through His three year ministry things were not going well. He has been preaching and doing miracles to proclaim Himself the Messiah, but only a small group has accepted His claims and followed Him. The majority, including the religious rulers, have rejected His offer because their pride kept them from admitting their need of Him. At this point a change takes place in His ministry. His focus shifts from trying to reach the masses, to training those who will follow Him. Teaching replaces miracles, and parables become Jesus’ main way of teaching truth to His followers while hiding it from those who would mock and reject (Matthew 13:10-17).
His first extended use of parables were those about the growth of the kingdom, starting with the parable of the sower and the seed. In this series Jesus taught His disciples that the rejection He was experiencing was to be expected. His Kingdom was starting small, but would eventually grow and expand. His followers weren’t to be alarmed by the lack of response from the majority of the Jews.
When interpreting the parable of the sower and the seed to His followers, Jesus gives insight into the workings of Satan. “Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown” (Mark 4:15). Evidently to some extent Satan and demons can influence our thought processes.
LESSON FOR TODAY: 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 (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. Pray specifically for those you are ministering to, claiming their minds and thoughts for God. Watch your own mind, making sure God is in control of every thought (Romans 12:1-2). The mind is the key, for actions always start as thoughts!
Satan doesn’t have access to our thoughts like God does. But he doesn’t have to know every thought to be able to insert thoughts of lust, pride, greed, fear, anger, jealousy, etc., etc., etc. at opportune times. The same is true of demons. They have been studying people for centuries and know what works and when it works. We are no match for them unless we keep the helmet of salvation in place (Ephesians 6:17) and focus our mind and thoughts on Him (Romans 12:1-2).
(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.)