Refusing Those Pestering Thoughts
How can we tell the difference between our own thoughts, and thoughts imposed by the Enemy?
There are many of Godís children who find great difficulty in beating off some thought that will not cease working in the mind. Have you ever taken the trouble to examine the source and cause of that thought which is troubling you? Have you ever asked, "Why does this thought pester me like this?"
Face the truth. "Do I choose this thought?"
"No, I do not want it."
Then do not keep calling it "yours" if you do not want it. God deals with your center. He knows all the things that come to your outer man, but He "looketh on the heart." He sees your central will and says, "What is your choice about this thing? Are you sure you have no secret wish for it? Are you rather pleased to have that kind of thought about that person?"
"No, Lord, I do not want it!" Well, then, say so: say it out loud so that the powers of darkness who are driving it upon you may hear it; say, "I do not want this thought, and I refuse it."
God has created us rational beings, with the power of choice and determination. He will not do anything for you against your will; you are to choose what shall come into the kingdom of your being. God has sent His Son, who has obtained eternal redemption for you at Calvary, and absolute victory over the power of the enemy for you. He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in you, and to apply to you personally all that Christ did for you on the Cross-- but the acceptance of it all depends upon your choice.
It is the purpose of God only to work in you alongside of your choice. You are to choose that your mind shall be closed to undesirable thoughts and impressions from outside, and as you decide against them, the Spirit of Truth will work, and enable you to shut them out. If a man refused the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, He will be grieved and retire. Then surely it is equally applicable to a conquered foe. If you can say "No" to God, surely you can say "No" to the prince of the power of the air and his followers, who were conquered and put to an open shame by our Lord at Calvary.
This is half the battle, and half the way to victory. It is so simple, but you will be astonished to see how it works. These pestering thoughts, if they are from the powers of darkness, will fall away like dead leaves. They were admitted through ignorance. You did not recognize that as a child of the light, you were walking about in an enemyís country, and the enemy was pressing upon you from without, seeking to fill your mind with his suggestions.
But now you see that you have to walk according to the Spirit of God that is in you, declaring what you are inwardly by the grace of God, and your deliberate purpose and aim is to be well pleasing unto Him in thought, as well as in word and deed. Then as you declare the truth, it counters the lies of the enemy all around you. When you say you are this and that, you say aloud that you do not want to be this and that, and that you belong to Jesus Christ, spirit, soul and body. Thus the life of God in your spirit fights against the spirit of the world outside, pressing on you, seeking access to your mind.
As true children of God, we are determined to walk in victory, to "walk in the light," and to manifest the life of Jesus in this world; but it means constant prayer and recognition of the enemy. This brings us into the Ephesian Epistle, chapter six, "all prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and watching thereunto." The Ephesian Epistle does not speak of a company of babes, but of a company of believers clothed in an armor, always alert against the foe, always watching, praying at all seasons in the Spirit.
Is it not time that the Church of Christ reached this stage in the Christian life? Is it not a trick of the enemy to make Christians forget all about him, or to minimize the work he is doing? The devil does not forget all about the child of God, does he? It is sad to see some of Godís choicest children taken hold of by a "cyclone" of the enemy. It is too late to find out that there is an enemy, after he has beguiled you, or broken you down.