I once saw a birthday card that began its greeting with “Everything I love in life is illegal, immoral, or fattening.”
August 17, 2022
Every Christian finds himself in a constant battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our fleshly mind is forever tempted by the sinful pleasures of this world. And the one the Bible calls “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3) pours gasoline onto the fire, often making us feel battle-weary. The “fiery darts” of which the Scriptures speak can seem like the scorching flamethrowers used in modern warfare.
However, for years I have used an effective principle that puts out the flames of intrusive thoughts. I’m talking about sinful thoughts that come in the form of jealousy, lust, adultery, fornication, pornography, pride, selfishness, greed, and even thoughts of suicide. That last one is very common. You’re not alone if you find yourself in that battle.
The reason we get these intrusions is often because we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against demonic forces that, since they are spiritual, have access into our minds. These are evil entities that are still at work in the children of disobedience, of whom we were once a part.
But now that we are no longer in the kingdom of darkness, we are told to cast down these evil imaginations: “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…” (2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV).
Here is one of the weapons the Scriptures give. When speaking of fighting off the enemy, the Bible talks about “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Ephesians 6:18).
Prayer is, of course, the answer. So, I formulated a positive prayer that is everything the enemy wouldn’t like me to pray. When those unwanted thoughts come, they act as an alarm bell for me to pray my super positive prayer.
For example, if a jealous thought enters my mind, that negative thought reminds me to pray my positive prayer. It turns a nasty negative into a powerful positive.
“Formulate a number of applicable and faith-filled powerfully positive prayers—the sort of thing that the enemy would hate—and pray them every time a fiery dart enters your mind.”
If it’s a lustful thought, I pray that God would cause me to love purity. If it’s a jealous thought, I pray that I would get so much love in my heart that there’d be no room left for jealousy. And, I always pray in faith—knowing that “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).
So, formulate a number of applicable and faith-filled powerfully positive prayers—the sort of thing that the enemy would hate—and pray them every time a fiery dart enters your mind.
Doing this really works, but you will have to be diligent and disciplined. Satan’s subtle weapons are distraction and discouragement. That’s why, right now, you should take a few minutes to write out those positive prayers. Keep them handy, and go over them until they are part of your memory.
Then, bring each applicable weapon out of the armory when the enemy reminds you to pray. He will then make you strong where he wanted to make you weak. Instead of turning you toward sin, he will be turning you toward God.
You can learn more about this constant battle in “Two Prayers” in The Evidence Study Bible.