The toughest kind of spiritual warfare is against the thoughts in your own head. People’s words and difficult circumstances can stir up negative feelings, but it’s your own mind that takes hold of those feelings and jumps to conclusions. When we make assumptions about a hunch or suspicion, we actually act out a form of negative faith, and that rotten faith has power. We begin to behave as if those suspicions were fact, and the more we live out our assumptions, the more we give the devil permission to turn them into a reality. Just like Job, who said, “For the thing which I greatly feared has happened to me, and that which I dreaded has come to me.” (Job 3:25)
One giant sign that the devil is trying to take over an area of your life, is when you feel dread. To anyone who doesn’t understand spiritual warfare, that sounds discouraging—but to those who do understand, it’s an easy way to catch the devil in the act, and pull the rug out from under the his plans so that they have no effect.
Example: Janet’s coworkers had been whispering and gossiping in the corner quite a bit for the last few days. She tried to remain professional and ignore them, but whatever they were talking about was pretty intense. Janet would ask God to give her strength to focus on her work, but her ears were also straining to pick up the gist of what they were saying. Her thoughts and suspicions that someone was going to be fired overcame her attempts at faith. Was it her? Was it because of that problem in the last project she hadn’t caught? Were they all conspiring against her? Wasn’t that her name she just heard them say? She always knew that some of them were threatened by her, so it must be true. She’d better be on the defensive now, she’d better watch every step. Those selfish conniving women, how dare they treat her this way! It’s about time someone taught them a lesson.
This goes on in workplaces, in schools, in families constantly. The devil is having a ball just whipping up imaginary problems and then watching unstable Christians fall for his emotional manipulations so he can make those problems real. Janet’s choice to be on the defensive visibly changes her behavior towards everyone at work. Believing in her fear actually strengthens those demons, who in turn, create suspicions in Janet’s coworkers that she is proud and secretive. The coworkers suddenly feel contempt for Janet, and treat her in ways that confirm all her fears. It’s a tempest in a teacup, but all of them are convinced the suspicions are real and that they have no choice but to strike back. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this scenario.
Instead of being on the defensive with people you suspect are conspiring against you, start first with being on the defensive with the devil and his lies. There is never any doubt that he is constantly conspiring against you, and there is never any harm in binding and confronting him in your prayers daily. Start answering back the accusations and suspicions in your mind with the truth of the word of God. Start slamming down the demonic fears and sense of dread that try to build up inside of you. Don’t give them any room, or allow any of their half-baked arguments to take root in your head. With each subtle suggestion of the devil, come back at him with the promises of God. Stop targeting the people who are mere conduits for the devil’s suggestions, and instead fight him directly. Treat them with kindness, but be ruthless to the real enemy who lurks around you every day.
Who is he who will harm you if you follow that which is good? But even if you suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. “Do not be afraid of their terror, do not be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to every man who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15 MEV)