THE ENEMY is out to devour us and uses thoughts, ideas, and suggestions to accomplish his task. But our loving Heavenly Father has not left us unequipped to protect ourselves. We have been given armor—not just one piece, but the whole armor of God.
Our armor is not made out of metal, but rather knowledge. It's what we know about truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and God's Word (Eph. 6:10–17).
Where do we begin? How do we defend ourselves against the thoughts our enemy hurls at us?
1) Identify It!
The identification of each thought that comes our way must be our first line of defense. WE MUST INVESTIGATE EVERY THOUGHT TO DETERMINE IF IT IS A FRIEND OR FOE. Investigation begins with questions. Does the thought agree with the Word? If not, we are to view it as dangerous, as something to be avoided.
Every thought has a life or death component attached to it! We have never had a thought come our way that did not have some type of life attached to it.
Once a thought is allowed access into our lives, the nature or life within that thought begins its work. For example, here's a thought most of us have probably had: "Snub them. Give them the cold shoulder." Attached to this thought is a relationship-destroying component. The moment this idea is embraced and acted upon, our relationship with the individual begins to deteriorate.
Our armor is not made out of metal, but rather knowledge. It's what we know about truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and God's Word.
2) Quench It!
The second step is quenching thoughts. The word "quench" means to extinguish. A fire is extinguished when we cut off its fuel source. The fuel source of thoughts is attention. When we remove the attention factor from the thought, we are in essence quenching it.
The more we entertain thoughts, the more they grow in strength. Likewise, TURNING OUR ATTENTION AWAY FROM A THOUGHT AND ON TO OTHER THINGS IS A THOUGHT'S WORST ENEMY. But once our attention has been redirected to the Word, our battle is half won!
3) Capture It!
Paul admonishes us to bring into captivity every thought (2 Cor. 10:5). Look carefully at the following phrase: Learn how thoughts take you captive, and you can learn how to take thoughts captive.
For a thought to capture us, it must bring with it other thoughts that support its case. Working together, they endeavor to overwhelm us with evidence. They remind us of events and statements made by others that provide evidence that the attacking thought is legitimate.
But by understanding this, we now have an advantage. We turn our attention off of the thought and onto what the Word has to say, which provides proof that the approaching thought is false.
IF THOUGHTS SPEAK TO US IN ORDER TO CAPTURE US, THEN WE MUST SPEAK TO THEM IN ORDER TO CAPTURE THEM. Speak to the attacking thought exactly as Jesus illustrated for us in Luke 4:4: "It is written. . . ." Let your voice be heard!
4) Maintain It!
Maintaining our thought life is a key to addressing every issue we face. There is not a thought that our enemy can hurl at us that our God has not equipped us with scriptures to detect and defeat. Our responsibility is to find the appropriate scriptures and use them properly. Make the decision now to take what you know and use it properly.
ENDEAVOR TO BRIDLE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH THE WORD. If for some reason you find yourself slipping, use First John 1:9 and ask the Father to forgive you. Then return to the task of vigilantly guarding what you allow your mind to dwell on.
May God's grace and power be with you as you put on God's armor and stand against the wiles of the devil!
Editor's Note: This article was adapted from Mastering the Silence: Strategies for Winning the Battles of the Mind by Doug Jones.
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