“Empowering the abused woman to recover with God's truth"
We must allow God’s peace to rule our hearts and minds and to do this, we must drown out the noise of the world and of everything else which keeps us distracted from God. We do this by filling our minds and hearts with the things and Word of God; there is no other way to keep our thoughts pure. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 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,” (biblegateway.com – NKJV).
The way in which we do not get entangled with the affairs of this world is by discerning the thoughts that comes to our minds. Because if we don’t, eventually, those thoughts will get into our hearts and pollute us. Remember in Part 1, I said the battle begins in our mind; it begins with a thought, a suggestion, a judgment, or a suspicion against someone else, God, or ourselves? Well it is true! And this part of the devotional will begin to show you how – it will focus on the Spirit of Discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10).
Whether you know it or not, we are in a spiritual battle every day we open our eyes; whether we are personally being affected or not. That is why it is so important for the Spirit of Discernment to be fully operational in us ( Romans 12:2; John 7:24). The discernment teaching, in this part, is from my Biblical Foundations of Freedom (BFOF) Program lecture from the book, “Biblical Foundations of Freedom – Destroying Satan’s Lies With God’s Truth” by Dr. Art Mathias; I have Dr. Mathias permission to use this material.
According to Dr. Mathias’ book, the dictionary definition of discernment is: “the ability to see clearly, to perceive, to distinguish, or recognize.” In Hebrews 5:14, the Greek word diakrino translated as “discern.” It means, “to separate thoroughly good and evil.” The only way we are going to be able to “thoroughly” separate good from evil is through discernment, from the Holy Spirit.
Two spiritual kingdoms are at war here on earth, and we’re caught in the middle (Colossians 1:13; Colossians 3:1-17). Many of us are aware of this spiritual warfare and the ongoing battle for our souls, but others are blind. II Corinthians 2:11 says, “lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” We must know satan’s devices so well that we can recognize and discern his lies. God warns us not to be ignorant in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” God wants us to comprehend truth about Him and satan, so that we can be victorious over evil.
Satan attacks us in three dimensions: 1) spiritually, 2) mentally (in our thoughts), and 3) physically. Satan attacks us spiritually by trying to weaken and destroy our faith in God. He attempts to counterfeit everything that is of God. He presents God as mean-spirited, selfish, jealous, and vindictive. He wants us to believe that God is withholding good things from us. He tries to trick us into blaming God for our hardships and diseases, when in truth, satan is the author of everything negative. He wants to replace faith in God with fear and superstition.
Satan attacks us physically by bringing disease and death to our bodies. Disease and death entered this world by satan’s instigation through one man’s sin (Romans 5:12). Deuteronomy 27-28 graphically illustrates the contrasts between obedience and disobedience to God-righteousness and sin. Every manner of disease is listed in the consequences of disobedience.
We must understand that discernment is the primary weapon we will use to win this spiritual war. The key is to understand that the battles are fought in our minds. We need to learn to take captive every thought. Recognize that not every thought we have is our own; so when thoughts enter our mind, we need to examine them to see who sent them.
Satan attacks us mentally and emotionally through our thoughts. Satan uses three types of thoughts in his attack. Expect them; know they are coming. Satan accuses God to us. He'll say, “God doesn't love you. After all, He did not stop September 11.” He employs a wide range of tactics, bold and subtle, to try to get you to believe the lie, that God either won't or couldn't possibly love you. Satan accuses others to us. Satan will accuse us, our Ministry, our Church, our husband, our kids, or anyone else. He'll plant doubts and suspicions in our minds about others. “This ministry doesn't really help anyone,” or “If my husband only understands, then we could get along," or “My dad is right. I really am no good.” Satan accuses you to yourself. Have you ever struggled with feelings of guilt, self-accusation, unloveliness, self-rejection, or self-hatred? You say to yourself, “I'm no good; nobody loves me,” or “There I go again, I’ll never get it right,” or “I’m just a failure.” At some time in our lives, we have all faced this type of self-rejection. How could we, who are supposed to love ourselves, say such hateful things to ourselves?
The key to winning the war in our thought-life is found in II Corinthians 10:4-6: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
First, we don't have to fight this war in our own power. Our weapons are not carnal — of man — but of God. We possess the full power and authority of Jesus in this war, and all authority has been given to Him.
We must learn to rely on and use His power and authority, not our own. Jesus' power and authority gives us the ability to destroy satan's strongholds. Through Christ, we have the ability to defeat satan in every area of our lives.
Secondly, we must cast down imaginations. To cast down something means to shatter it, demolishing it. The Greek word for “imaginations” means reasoning and thoughts. We are to demolish all reasoning and thoughts that run contrary to sound Scriptural teaching. We demolish the reasoning, or theories, of humanistic philosophers and their vain, empty speculations that attempt to nullify Scripture and the Gospel. We also demolish cultural influences in our lives that run contrary to sound teachings. Jesus came to destroy the works of satan and gave us His authority and power.
Thirdly, bring thoughts captive. Discernment is a powerful battle weapon that starts with bringing into captivity every thought, so that all our thoughts are obedient to Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). We demolish all kinds of wrong and evil thoughts through our use of God-directed discernment. All thoughts that are contrary to virtue, purity, and righteousness are demolished.
To be victorious, our minds must remain vigilant, sensitive to God’s truth so that we will not allow satan any fraction of a victory over us. In order for our minds to become vigilant, we must digest God’s Word by meditating on it “day and night” (Joshua 1:8). May I suggest that you take these Scriptures used in this devotional and meditate on them because meditation is like mentally chewing on God’s Word so often that it becomes part of us. To have victory in a certain area, you would find the scripture in the Bible that correspond with what you are struggling with.
I am asking that you allow the Holy Spirit to ministry to you as you study each part of this message. Also, please let the first part minister to you before you move on to part two (this part); then allow part two to minister to you before going on to part 3.
Part I is the introduction and will give you the Scriptures to meditate on; these Scriptures will be used in all three parts of the devotional. It also will give you the focus of the complete devotional which is allowing God to rule your heart and mind.
Part II will show you how to keep the thoughts from entering your heart and mind and teach you about the spiritual battle we are in. This part will discuss the Spirit of Discernment and show how important it is in our lives.
Part III will discuss Accusing Spirit and show the part they play in affecting our thought life. This part will also show how these spirits obtain access to our thought life.
Shalom and have a blessed weekend in the Lord,
Rev. Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks