God will speak to you through your own thoughts. So will the enemy. Both of them will often sound like your own voice inside your head. How, then, do we tell the difference?
It’s the fruit. Jesus taught us that we will be able to understand the source of something by the fruit it bears. Grapes don’t come from thornbushes. Likewise, it is impossible for the enemy to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We can recognize that Daddy God is speaking to us when the incoming thoughts result in love, joy, and peace. Likewise, when we notice that a thought pattern has come in and is causing disruption, chaos, or worry, we can learn to identify the source as the enemy.
We should develop a habit of examining the fruit produced by the thoughts that come into our minds. 1 John 4:1 tenderly instructs us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (ESV). If Holy Spirit has given us this instruction, it means that He is empowering us to apply it to our lives. You and I have the power to test what has come into our minds, and see whether it’s from God, or from a different spirit.
How do we do that? Consider this joyful suggestion: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8, ESV). Just as physical fruit has a flavor, so does spiritual fruit. Does the thought that you are testing carry the sweet essence of Jesus? He is always good. Everything that comes from Him is good. Even His no’s and His correction drip with genuine mercy and kindness. If that thought produces more of His life in you, then welcome it and give it room.
What, though, do we do when we realize that the incoming thought is instead producing doubt, fear, or anxiety? How do we respond to thoughts that are actually fiery darts in disguise? We extinguish them, using our shield of faith. We actively reject them and replace them with wholehearted declarations of God’s truth. If need be, we pause and begin to praise Him until we shift our inner atmosphere back to the place of peace and joy.
Guess what. The practice I just described is a basic summary of what it means to “fight the good fight of faith.” Our soul (mind, will, and emotions) is where the majority of life’s spiritual battles take place. I am sure you have observed that putting this into practice is not always easy. Growing up into the victory that is already ours is no simple, quick process. However, it is well worth it. This is the level of spiritual maturity to which we are headed as we persevere: “The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6b, NIV). What a glorious place to live!
As we daily press on into this growth, Holy Spirit will train us to recognize more and more quickly what the source of each incoming thought is. As He does so, be encouraged. The arms He has put at your disposal are immensely powerful and effective. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds… bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5, NKJV).
Watch out! Careful where you swing that sword – it’s lethal! Have you noticed the enemy trembling as you do so?
Rejoice! Dear one, you are on Team Triumphant, and you cannot lose!
What have you, personally, found to be the most effective way to redirect your thoughts onto God’s truth, when negativity is trying to invade them?
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