In my last post, I referred to the need of regularly reminding ourselves of the powerful truths found in God’s word – rehearsing, remembering and meditating on Bible truths in order to be prepared to recognize and defeat the devil’s lies. There is a constant spiritual battle and so often the attacks are in our thoughts. Friday’s post was about knowing the truth of who we are in Christ; however, Satan’s subtle, often seemingly harmless, yet devious and destructive lies can be about just about anything. It may be a spiritual issue. It might involve relationships. It may even be personal – or what we believe about ourselves. So often, the way we behave or react – we way we make choices or decisions – is based solely on what we hold as truth in our thinking. It is critical that we are daily asking the Lord for truth. And replacing deceptions, misconceptions, and lies with clear thinking.
For months – more like years – after our son, Tyler, died, the battles I faced were much more mentally than anything else. I knew of God’s precious promises to walk with me through my grief, to comfort me, to give me the strength needed to continue living the abundant life He gives to all His children. I knew these and more. But, it seemed every morning I began defeated. No doubt, for many different reasons but, most assuredly because I held tight to two specific lies from the devil. One – I believed because my mother, and her mother as well, suffered from depression that I was destined to be crippled with it as well. Two – I believed (strongly believed) that there would never really be joy again. (I may have even convinced myself that joy was wrong for me.) So, if there was no joy and it was inevitable that I would suffer with depression – it was not hard for my enemy to convince to just give in and give up.
As much as I wanted to take God’s promises and live by them, I listened to the lies and I rehearsed them so often, they became the truth I lived by. Thank the Lord, I have over the last eleven years been able to get victory – physically, spiritually and mentally. Defeating Satan mentally, I believe, was the catalyst for spiritual and physical victories, as well.
Here are three basic steps for mental victories – defeating the enemy’s lies. Not just victory during grief but in any circumstance or over whatever lies might be holding you captive. I pray they can be a help – if simply a start in the right direction – for someone.
1 – Recognize, record and rehearse truth. Often, it seems the first step would be to recognize the lies; however, if you have believed them long enough often it is hard (or impossible) to even see a lie for what it really is. A better place to start is simply remembering God’s truths. Start with a few you know from heart. Then, get in God’s word and look for more. As you find them, write them down. Keep them before you. Make sticky notes or note cards – whatever works for you. Have them available when your thoughts start to spiral downward but also simply keep meditating on them often. Remembering who God is and all His wonderful attributes is key. Focus on Him rather than on your situation.
2 – Surround yourself with like-minded community. If there is power in numbers, imagine how much stronger Satan’s attacks are when we determine to go it alone? Your community – those you chose to walk with you and help you stay in the battle – does not have to be huge or necessarily even from your church. I do believe a church family is essential; but, as well, there may others who can be a tremendous help. During my early grief, I joined two different grief groups. They were a tremendous support. The support you need might simply come from your spouse or a trusted friend. Maybe you do need a larger, accountability group. Whatever form it takes, find support and lean on them.
3 – Follow God’s plan. When lies begin to take root in our thinking, often our judgments begin to cloud. Soon, our emotions are taking control and we can become experts at rationalizing all sorts of wrong ideas and choices. Whatever the situation, God will never lead us to decisions that go against His word or His character. Don’t convince yourself otherwise. Many people – some in the Bible – have made very poor choices and thought God would somehow approve. But that does not happen. If you are not sure of all the major decisions or changes that involve “the bigger picture” of your situation, start with what you do know. Each choice to believe God and to obey Him is a defeat over the devil…..and leads to complete victory!