My women's group the other night was talking about the doubts we as Christians sometimes have. I know you know what I'm talking about. They creep in our minds and our hearts and if we let them have a place in us, we start spiraling downward into disappointment, despair, depression, and sin. We talked about how to protect our minds and hearts.
Some of the doubts we have -
Am I really saved?
Am I really forgiven?
Does God hear my prayers?
Where is God in this?
I'm not good enough... No one loves me... I'm a failure... I'm useless... I have no purpose... I can't do this... I'm alone...
These are lies. They are not from God.
The mind is a powerful thing. It is our battlefield.
And the evil one knows that. And that is where he attacks us.
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."
John 8:42-47 NASB
Did you get that about the devil? He is a murderer! He does not stand in the truth. He is a liar and the father of lies.
Yes, our mind is a battlefield.
And what our mind believes is what settles in our heart.
And what is in our hearts is how we act.
How do we battle those thoughts? The ones the devil plants in our minds?
We put on our battle gear - the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-13.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
The Full Armor of God is given in Ephesians 6:14-18:
The Belt of Truth
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The Gospel of Peace
The Shield of Faith
The Helmut of Salvation
The Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God - our only offensive weapon)
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Take your thoughts captive. When a thought comes in your mind that is not truth, stop it! Focus your mind on what God says in His Word.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Read God's Word so you know what He says.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
This takes training. You stop the thoughts the devil puts in your mind. Stop them right there. (My dear friend says she thinks of those lies Satan tells her as "monkeys on her back" and she stops immediately and commands the monkeys to get off her back now!) And then you dwell on the good stuff.
and do not give the devil an opportunity.
How do we do that? One way is, 'I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.' Psalm 101:3a
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
Be alert! Stand firm in the truth. Stand firm in your faith.
Practically speaking, really truly, how do we do guard our minds and our hearts?
We stop the lies of Satan in their tracks. We recognize they are lies. We dwell on the truth. We read God's Word so we know what that truth is. And we hold onto the promises of God. He has told us He loves us. He has told us He hears our prayers. He has told us if we ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus that He will forgive us. He has told us that if we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus that we are saved. He has told us He is with us and will not forsake us. He has told us we matter to Him and that He has a purpose for our lives. We cling to His promises.
We remember His words.
We remember how He has delivered us in the past and answered our prayers.
We trust Him Who is mighty to save.
And then we experience this truth.