The Mind Games of Satan
2 Corinthians 10:3-10:6
There is an old European proverb worth heeding that says, "Age and treachery will always defeat youth and zeal." Before we engage in spiritual warfare, we should know this about Satan: He is an ancient and extremely treacherous foe.
Jesus prepared His disciples for everything, including war. They saw Him casting out demons. In fact, He sent them out doing the same. But before He sent them out, He charged them to become "wise as serpents yet innocent and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16).
This combination of divine wisdom and Christ-like innocence is the source of all spiritual victory. We can defeat the enemy. But we must learn the ways of God, which means we must think with wisdom. And we must be pure of heart, that we may see God and gain discernment.
Remember, Adam and Eve were in paradise when they fell. Solomon wrote 3 books of Scripture; he actually gazed upon the glory of God, yet he fell. And don’t forget, Lucifer himself was once in heaven pouring out praise to God.
We have all seen many who have fallen. Jesus warned that the love of many would grow cold. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Our enemy has been deceiving mankind for thousands of years. So, be bold - in your prayer life. Many well-meaning Christians have approached the field of battle with flippant attitudes and have suffered greatly for it.
Today I’d like to use 2 Cor. 10:3-6 as my text. (READ) ... (Pray)
Satan is out to deceive us...to torment us...to destroy us. He wants to keep us from the truth...because he knows that the truth - the truth of the Word of God - when it is applied to our lives will set us free. And the attack of the enemy is raging, among individual lives all over the world.
But what is Satan’s real strategy...how does he bring about all this turmoil? The attack starts in the mind...this is his primary means of beginning his destruction. And, few Christians realize this important fact.
The Bible speaks of the "weapons of our warfare"...and its important to realize that we are at war. And when I say war, I am speaking of all out conflict...life and death...a fight for our very spiritual lives. So we must come to the realization, that like it or not, we need to fight if were to survive.
And this whole war is one that begins in the mind. The area of our thoughts is the main battleground. The warfare starts in the mind...but then if allowed, it will spread to other areas of our lives as well.
Verse 5 speaks of "demolishing arguments and pretenses." The KJV says "casting down imaginations." The word we find translated imaginations or arguments, in the Greek, actually means "a reasoning, or decision."
And this speaks of the way we so often are able to take the plain truth of God’s word and twist it and turn it in such a way that it’s no longer absolute...that our specific situation is so special or unique that we are not bound by the same rules as everyone else. We rationalize...and excuse...and "reason" the truth into exactly what we want to hear.
And this is quite profound when we look back at Genesis 3 and the deception of Eve. That subtle snake whispered a thought...and she reasoned it out in her mind until it became acceptable to break the command of God. But Paul is saying we are to use our spiritual weapons to break down these arguments that go on in our minds...put there by the snake himself.
So once again, the battleground is in the mind. And thoughts are what Satan wants to slip in there. Let’s look at a few examples. In Acts 8 we have the story of Philip going down to Samaria for a great revival. Multitudes were being saved, healed and delivered from the power of Satan. Many were baptized in water and also baptized in the Holy Spirit.
But in this story we also see a man named Simon, the sorcerer. And Simon wrongly offers Peter and John money for the gift of laying hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit. Peter immediately rebuked him and said, "Man, you’re full of bitterness and captive to sin."
Now think of what he’s saying here. Look at what Peter says was at the heart of this man’s problem...he was full of bitterness - and that bitterness made him a captive to sin. Bitterness blinded him to the truth of God’s ways. And in verse 22 he says to Simon, "Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart."
Do you see...Simon was motivated by a thought! And where did that thought come from? Satan! What Peter was saying was this..."Satan has put a thought in your heart...And you have accepted that thought as your own and acted on it. Now pray for God to forgive you for that THOUGHT!
And notice that he didn’t say thoughts...but thought - singular! Pray that God will forgive you for that ONE THOUGHT that leads you into wrong action. And it’s so often just one little thought...placed in our minds by old Satan himself...that will make us say and do things that are so destructive and hurtful to people and to the body of Christ.
You see, the enemy’s primary approach is to drop a THOUGHT into our minds. He wants us to accept it and then act upon it. And the danger is that once we do...that thought can become a stronghold. And let me tell you...Satan’s lying thoughts can really have a strong hold on people!
Thoughts can hold you like a vise and keep you from the truth. One mighty lie from Satan can hold you in a place of sickness...of suffering...of torment...of bitterness and unforgiveness. And it will last just as long as you permit it...as long as you accept it!
Many of you are held captive by a thought. And that thought brings fear. Some of those thoughts are:
"You’re no good"..."You’ll never make it to heaven"..."Your children will die and go to hell"..."You’re going to have a wreck"..."You have cancer...or a tumor"..."You’ll never get well"..."You’re of no use to God’s kingdom or His work at this church" ...."You’ve messed up so much what’s the use of even trying"
The thoughts go on and on...the devil brings thousands of thoughts to our minds. These thoughts bring fear, and when they take root in our mind we begin to speak them...and what was once an accusing voice now becomes your voice saying - "I’m no good...I’ll never make it to heaven...I have cancer...I’ll never recover...I’m no good to the kingdom of God....I’ll never make it...and so on.