Last time, we talked about the spiritual warfare which is waged against us in the arena of our thoughts. Some thoughts come directly from our own soulish nature, but they can also come from outside of ourselves — from evil spirits.
If we let these thoughts flow unchecked, not recognizing their source, we begin to come into agreement with them. Our thinking develops certain patterns, or mindsets — things we believe to be true, although they are not. When that happens, the enemy of our souls is on the way to establishing a “stronghold” — a fortress within our head, from which he can disseminate even more lies. The goal is to paralyze us, so that we cannot fulfill the plans God has for us.
Mindsets are limitations in our thinking which keep us from the full revelation of what God wants us to understand about Himself and about how He does business in His kingdom. They affect how we view our own destiny and the destinies of others around us:
- “I am a failure / bad mom / inept klutz.”
- “God loves others, but He doesn’t love me … at least not as much.”
- “I am not worthy.”
- “God doesn’t care about my needs / will not answer my prayers.”
- “Brother Bob is not valuable in the kingdom of God.”
- “Sister Alicia will never get over her issues.”
- “My education / ancestry / race makes me superior (or inferior) to others.”
We all have mindsets which oppose the truth of what God says in His Word. While any pattern of thinking which is not in agreement with truth ultimately originates with Satan, the father of lies, not all mindsets come directly from him to us. Most of them begin through things we have repeatedly heard from parents, teachers, or other influencers, especially when we were children. Even more so, painful events throughout our lives cause mindsets to develop without us being aware of them:
- “It is not safe to trust anyone. If I stay aloof, I won’t get hurt.”
- “Men are bad, or to be feared.” (“Women are bad, or to be feared.”)
- “If their family does things differently than my family, they are wrong.”
- “People from other cultures or traditions cannot be trusted.”
- “The church is full of hypocrites. I can be a better Christian if I steer clear.”
- “If I show anyone the real me, they won’t like me.” (So I put on a false front.)
Mindsets also come through things we have viewed, heard, or read in various media. Our TV and computer screens constantly bombard us with ways of looking at life which are not in sync with the Lord. The more we allow these things in, the harder it is to resist them. They reek of me-ism:
- “I deserve ….”
- “I am entitled to be anything I want to be.”
- “If you hurt me, I dump you.”
- “If it feels good, do it.”
- “I can do whatever I want, as long as I don’t hurt anybody.” (But you will always hurt somebody with that attitude.)
Even Christian teaching can establish limitations on our perception of God or our interpretation of what the Bible says. For instance, many believers have been taught that the gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 ended with the death of the original twelve apostles. Some have been taught that God no longer heals or does miracles. These beliefs are ingrained teaching in some circles, supported by twisted interpretations of isolated verses, although the Bible, read with an open heart, says otherwise.
I often ask the Lord to uncover theological ideas I have absorbed through the years which are widely accepted and yet not true. He faithfully answers that prayer by illuminating Scripture as I read it. I have been surprised at some of the things I have swallowed through repetitive “Bible” teaching — which are not really in the Book at all!
Deceptive mindsets taint us all. It is our lifetime warfare task to discover and remove them by examining them through the filter of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit helps us with this. He brings false mindsets to our attention, one by one. Jesus said of Him, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:13). Our part is to invite Him to reveal these inner mindsets to us and then listen to Him when He does.
Second Corinthians 10:4 tells us, “The weapons of our warfare are … mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” Once the false ideas we were agreeing with have been exposed and repented of, the devil’s hold on us is weakened in that area. We can, with the Lord’s help, tear down the strongholds the enemy had erected within our minds by renouncing his influence and commanding him to vacate. This will most likely be a process, not a single event.
We should not leave those territories of former evil influence unoccupied, however. The Holy Spirit wants to help us replace our old mindsets with His. We can ask Him to build up strongholds of the Lord in place of the enemy’s strongholds which were there before. The erecting of God’s strongholds comes through absorbing, confessing, and actively believing the Word of God.
Next time, I will share in greater detail how to discern between soulish thoughts and thoughts coming directly from evil spirits.
The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam