I’m finding the more people I talk to, the more we all struggle with essentially the same problems. And no, it’s not our spouse. Nope, not our parents. It’s not even our job. It’s our thoughts. The enemy-the devil-Satan- whatever you want to call him, can actually have an effect on our thoughts, believe it or not. And most of the problems we face today are a result of allowing him to gain a foothold in our mind, permitting our thoughts to rest, even if just for a moment, on thinking about his lies. My pastor explained it in a great way one Sunday morning. He said that while we have the weapons and the power to make the first move and attack against the enemy (the devil), often what we do instead is position our weary bodies behind our defenses, struggling to hold the gate closed while he tries to knock it down and force his way inside.
Have you ever had a dream so real that it wakes you and you need to gather your senses for a second to make sure it was only a dream? Well, within a night or two of hearing that Sunday message, I had this vivid dream. Boldly flashing across my view was a title clear as day and I knew God was speaking to me. I didn’t hear Him audibly, but I had a sense inside of me. Upon awakening, I knew what the dream was about. So I got up, thudded downstairs, and scribbled blindly on a sticky note exactly what I saw. Oddly enough, the dream wasn’t any THING, as much as it was the WORDS that got me. “Fight or Flight.” Yep, we’ve all heard of this saying, but typically we think of it as the natural response our bodies make when we’re faced with something frightening. So this is what I was given. Just those words, along with the idea of “spiritual warfare”. You see, I’ve been toying with blogging for years but I keep chickening out for one reason or another. I’m afraid I won’t have the time to do it. I’m afraid of putting myself out there (more than writing books already does-I know, really?). What topic do I write on? I once started a blog probably at least 12 years ago or more. It was on parenting and tips for parents, since this was a large part of my job at the time. Don’t ask me how long it lasted. I don’t even remember the name of it.
So here I was again, on this particular night when I had “the dream.” And you know, it was like God could’ve been saying to me, “Tracy, what are you waiting for?” Ok, well, Lord, I guess I really don’t have an excuse anymore. Except technically I did. Two nights before this, I got a concussion. A pretty good one. One that really limited my screen time, aka my precious writing time. But you see, this is how the enemy works. He will use anything he can to prevent us from stepping out onto the path God is calling us to. “Fight or flight” showed me that God is asking all of us, when our minds and our thoughts are attacked, are we going to fight with the weapons we have been given, or are we going to run away and hide behind our gate, frantically finding any way to hold it up as the devil tries to push it in?
At this point you might be thinking, “what are you talking about? The enemy? The devil is just some being who lives in hell and as long as I help people and do good things for others, I’m ok.” I’m here to tell you while that sounds nice, it’s false. The Bible, which is just as real and applicable for us today as it was a thousand years ago, says, “Be sober (self-controlled), be vigilant (watchful); because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)
Did you know that eagles have super vision? It helps them to watch any dangerous prey that might come searching for their nest. They perch themselves high above and watch vigilantly, to protect their young. This is a perfect example of how we need to watch for the negative thoughts that prey on our minds, stalking, waiting to attack.
Did you know, many of the thoughts in our minds and problems we face due to our thinking are caused by the devil? “For we do not wrestle against 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)
But don’t worry! Because we are told that we have what we need to overcome that! “The weapons of our warfare 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.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
So listen, before you think that thought about yourself, or you want to criticize your spouse, or think that you’ll never like your job, before you think those things, stop and find one GOOD thing about yourself, or about your spouse, or your job. If you can begin to do that, I guarantee you will begin to notice a change inside you!
This is just the beginning. There is so much more to learn about the devil and how he can attack our minds and completely change the way we live. Through my struggles each day, I will provide the tips I’m learning to overcome the devil and change my life for the better. And while I’m not there yet, I’m definitely on my way!
All the credit for the amazing picture goes to Bob Doyle, taken in Alaska. Thanks for the pic, Bob!