Tag Archives: discerning of spirits

Personal Spiritual Warfare (Part 2) — Where Did That Thought Come From?

Winning our personal spiritual battles starts with knowing that every thought which enters our mind is not necessarily our own. Nor is every emotion we feel.

Some thoughts do come from our depraved nature, and those must be continually put to death. Eventually, as we gain ground through absorbing the Scriptures and spending time with the Lord, we develop more and more of a “renewed mind,” as mentioned in Romans 12:2.

But there is another source of wrong thoughts: evil spirits. They study our lives, including our words, and thereby figure out what our vulnerable areas are. They then inject thoughts into our minds accordingly. These thoughts are cleverly styled to sound like our own, but they are actually coming from outside ourselves.

This means that when we have an evil thought, instead of being shocked by how bad we are for coming up with such a thing, we must recognize that it perhaps did not originate with us, and we don’t have to buy into it. We immediately reject it, rebuking the evil spirit which planted it. It only becomes “ours” when we accept it and begin to flow with it. A thought caught and rejected in the first couple of seconds has no power over us. It is not sin until we agree and then run with it.

The apostle Paul gives us some ideas about how warfare over our thoughts works:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [soulish; according to the natural man], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds). We are casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Paul indicates that we cannot succeed in winning the war for our thoughts in our own strength (“warring according to the flesh”). This is why simply pushing away a wrong thought usually doesn’t work: it will keep on coming back, along with a flood of other evil thoughts to reinforce it. Instead, we must use the authority we have in Christ Jesus through His name, depending on the Lord to back us up.

When we recognize a thought which is not compatible with how the Lord thinks, our job is to immediately reject it, and then command the enemy to be silent and flee from us, in the name of Jesus. James 4:7 instructs us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The condition is that we stay yielded to the Lord. We put to death our own selfish inclinations. Then, when the enemy tries to manipulate our thoughts, we can speak confidently, “I resist that thought and the spirit behind it. I command the enemy to be gone from me, in Jesus’ name.”

When we are yielded to the Holy Spirit, depending upon Him for His power to be at work within us, our warfare is truly “mighty through God” (2 Corinthians 10:4). However, although we depend upon the Spirit to aid us in spiritual warfare, we cannot passively expect Him to do it all. If that were the case, there would be no warfare about it for us. Instead, He has given us supernatural ability so that we can cast down the wrong imaginations, and we can take every thought captive to make it line up with obedience to Christ (v. 5).

The problem for most of us, though, is that our natural tendency is to carry out life according to the flesh. This means we go by how we feel and what we perceive by our natural mind. We are not vigilant over our thoughts. We don’t pay attention to the steady flow of what we’re thinking, so sometimes we don’t recognize that the mental trail we are taking is off the Lord’s path. This is especially the case once we have developed a pattern of agreeing with wrong thoughts. Those patterns, or mindsets, can deepen into mental strongholds, which we will cover in the next post.

Previous: Part 1 — Intro
Next: Part 3 — Mindsets and Strongholds

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Of What Spirit Are We?

LeeAnnRubsam.com

…When the time was come that [Jesus] should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before him. The messengers went, and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  But the Samaritans did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?”  But Jesus turned, and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.  For the Son of man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”   — Luke 9:51-56

For some time, I’ve been troubled at the number of websites and blogs devoted solely to criticizing various brothers and sisters in the Christian apostolic/prophetic community.  Google the name of any well-known prophet, apostle, or revivalist, and you’ll find that the top ten sites are primarily run by people who feel their God-given mission in life is to expose the “heresy” of others.  Some are so obsessed with harassing and discrediting a particular person that it almost smacks of stalking.  Talk about having a “ministry” specialty! 

As I’ve said before, apostolic/prophetic Christianity is my particular circle.  I see the problems too, and there are times I get pretty perturbed.  Yes, some are teaching things that are not biblically supportable.  Yes, some are hiding sin.  A lot of housecleaning is needed, and I believe God is in the process of doing that.  He wants a pure and spotless Bride. 

But there is something more disturbing to me than doctrinal aberrations and high-profile sin.  It is the hardness of heart that causes Christians to think they can mock and curse other believers and not have a twinge of conscience in doing so.  It doesn’t matter if we agree with someone’s doctrine and mode of ministry or not.  The Lord Jesus has not given us permission to tear members of the Body of Christ apart.  Pointing the finger and screaming, “Heretic!” or licking our chops over the latest one to fall aligns us with an entirely different spirit than the Holy Spirit.  Revelation 12:10 describes Satan as “the accuser of our brethren … which accused them before our God day and night.” 

I’m not saying we should whitewash sin and doctrinal error.  They are a shame and a blot on the Body of Christ.  I am asking what spirit we are of — the spirit of hatred, anger, and criticalness? Or the spirit of mercy, humility, and godly sorrow when a brother sins?  Jesus was grieved with the Pharisees of His day for their lack of mercy and their prideful delusion that they were several notches above other people.  The Pharisaical spirit is alive and well in the Church today.  It is a spirit totally aligned with hell, not the righteous purity of the Holy Spirit. 

There is a better way to address the problems in Christianity today.  For those of us who teach, we can continue to patiently lay down biblical foundations and warn against pitfalls, so that those who truly want to do right can learn to move in life-giving, Spirit-filled patterns.  We don’t need to point fingers and name names in the process of bringing God’s people into maturity.  Let’s teach the principles, so that people can learn to discern between the good and the bad, while keeping our fingers to ourselves. 

And all of us can learn to mind our own business — spending our time in sober prayer and fasting, rather than wasting precious hours at Internet forums, blogs, and chat rooms, talking, talking, always talking, about the latest ministry flap or failure. 

Let’s encourage and build up one another, lifting each other out of the muck if any of us should fall.  The devil doesn’t need our help in beating up on the Body– but he’s more than happy to let us join hands with him if we want to.

LeeAnnRubsam.com