Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One Lie At A Time


 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

It’s called anxiety, but we know it by a number of names.  It’s that sinking feeling that something bad is going to happen.  It’s a state of unexplainable panic, of nervousness without good cause.  It’s worry and dread without issue.  It causes sleepless nights and mind captivated days.   It cancels out blessings as it brings thoughts of evil things that might come. 
Some view it as a medical condition and give it names such as depression, panic disorders, OCD, PTSD, anxiety attacks, and so forth.  These are viewed as medical diseases, and treatment for these diseases usually is in the form of drugs to treat the physical, changing the chemical balance of the mind. But…we are told that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).    

We are fighting the spiritual with efforts to strengthen the physical.  That’s like trying to cool a burn on your hand by putting your foot in cold water.  It may distract you from the problem, but the problem will soon remind you it is still there.  I speak out of experience when I tell you, friends, the problem is spiritual, and the remedy is as well! 
The root of anxiety can be found in spiritual strongholds.  A spiritual stronghold is the captivation of your mind by evil spirits.  It is likened to a wall built around a city for protection, letting nothing evil in.  But these strongholds work in reverse, capturing your mind within its tall walls, and not letting the truth free you.  How are spiritual strongholds built?  One lie at a time.

When you’re 13, a teacher says that you’re being “silly” in class.  Satan whispers “You act like an idiot!”

When you’re 15, someone says “you don’t belong at our lunch table.”  Satan whispers “You are worthless!”
When you’re 17, you rear end another car.  The police officer says “You had your radio blasting when I came up! No wonder you weren’t paying attention!”  Satan whispers, “You have an attention deficit disorder.”

Sticks and stones don’t break the bones.  They build strongholds.  And the strong hold annihilates you from the truth, from who God says you are. 
In my imagination, I can see Satan’s best days. Jesus taught His disciples to be fishers of men.  Satan goes fishing every day!  I can almost see him sitting around a rocky shoreline, talking to his evil followers and they’re telling the events of the day as a fisher would tell of a great day on the lake. 

“Yes, I got the big one today!  I had the deacon on the computer for hours looking at porn before I let his wife come in and catch him! I knew she already had a bad self-image and trust issues.  Today sealed the deal! She hates herself – and him!”
The next minion speaks up and says, “You think that’s good?  Remember the one I was assigned to that was giving up alcohol for a week to see if he could do it?  Well, today he made a mistake at work.  Thanks to my work with his boss’ wife that morning, and her “you don’t love me” insecurity skit, his boss was already angry when he saw it! I guess those anger management classes aren’t working either!  He chewed him out good, threw the chairs around the room, and by noon my alcoholic was singing “its 5 o’clock somewhere”!

But the next minion speaks up and says “Nah, I got you all beat.  I got the homecoming queen to believe she was ugly, and unworthy! Her boyfriend dumped her for another gal – one not so pretty, but loose!  The queen is cutting her arms, and crying out right now, and has been all day.  She’ll feel unworthy and depressed for a long time!  All her God-given good looks are no longer a blessing to her, but a curse! She’ll never be able to love without suspicions and doubts!”
Evil spirits abound.  We don’t see them, but they are there and just as real as the angels that watch over us.  They build up strongholds, preying on our weaknesses, and our own insecurities.  Give the devil an inch, and he’ll drag you a mile! 

There’s only one way to break down the strongholds, and that’s to take back what is God’s.  The saved have been given the mind of Christ.  Through the Holy Spirit living in us, our Comforter and Guide, we have become spiritually alive with Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:10-16 tells us that the natural man cannot understand the ways of God, only the Spirit of God can.  Because we have received His Spirit, we can know, as Christ knows, the truth of all things because “we have the mind of Christ.”  His Holy Spirit gives us discernment, to know the truth from lies, and evil from good.  Whose voice is speaking these things to you?  Discern it.
We are given weapons to fight the evil that tries to overcome us.  Ephesians 6:16 says “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Quench it!  Put out the fire of his evil against you.  Stand in faith against him, and stop those thoughts of evil from living in your thoughts. 

Ephesians 6:17 also says to protect the head with “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” God’s truth is the truth.  In it we find our worth, our beauty, our identity.  We find that we are loved with an everlasting love by a perfect God who cannot lie. 
Paul writes of spiritual strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  He says that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”  Our fight isn’t with the flesh!  He says that our weapons are “not carnal but mighty IN GOD for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.  Through mighty God, and His Holy Spirit, we have the power to discern and believe the truth about who He says we are.  We can cast out of our minds Satan’s arguments with who God says we are, casting out all that evil brings to build the strongholds.  We can take every evil though captive, say it’s a lie, and dismiss it.  We can cast them down, one lie at a time, and believe what God says.

When you’re 10 years old, someone says you’re “a cute chubby little girl”.  God says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made!”
When you’re 13, a teacher says that you’re being “silly” in class.  God says, “Child, be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world!”

When you’re 15, someone says “you don’t belong at our lunch table.”  God says, “Just as I did with Job, I have placed a hedge about you.  These are not to cross it, for they will bring you harm.”
When you’re 17, you rear end another car.  The police officer says “You had your radio blasting when I came up! No wonder you weren’t paying attention!”  God says, “I heard the praise and worship music too, and the accident is not your fault.  Blessed are you when you are persecuted for my sake.

To become spiritually sick, you only have to do two things.  
First, stop reading God’s word.  You’ll become feeble in your ways and thoughts.  Your mind will be empty of the truth, and wide open to believing lies. 

Secondly, stop praying.  Philippians 4:6-7 says to Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Dismiss prayer from your life, and you can also dismiss peace, and leave your hearts and minds unguarded. Then as the days go on, one day Satan may sit on the bank and talk to his ‘fishing buddies’ about you…his latest conquest. 
You have a choice to make.  You can be filled with truth and strengthened with prayer.  You cast out the evil thoughts that bombard your mind and take over your emotions.  Or, you can let them hang around, and see the great stronghold they build. But it is a choice, a spiritual choice.  

“I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.” – Psalms 18:1-3

 
 

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