If the devil walked up to you this morning with a contract in his hand and asked you to sign it, would you? I’m guessing you wouldn’t. You might not even read it. Even so, despite what you say, many of us actually do sign our names to binding agreements he writes for us all the time.
The enemy is too cunning to come at you the way I’ve described above. Instead, he looks for opportunities to sound like the voice of reason in the midst of chaos, a helper in your desperation, a friend to give compassion in a time of pain.
No matter that he may actually be behind the chaos, desperation, or pain, here’s how it works and what you can do about it:
First, you experience a real difficulty in your life. Whatever the source of the difficulty, it’s disruptive in your life.
A loved one dies even though you prayed they’d be healed.
The man of your dreams cheated on you.
You’ve tried for years to change your circumstances, but you’re where you were a decade ago.
Kids at school call you a wimp, a loser, or a queer.
You’re catching every red light when you’re already late.
Second, the enemy whispers an idea to you that seems to explain what you’re experiencing.
God doesn’t heal today.
You’ll never be good enough for a man like that.
God doesn’t care about you. You’re stuck.
Maybe I am a wimp, a loser, or a queer (whatever that means).
This is a terrible day.
When I say the enemy whispers an idea, he doesn’t identify himself first. In fact, one of his tactics is to impersonate others. The words above might sound like the voice of a pastor, your dad or mom, your own voice, or even God. Neil Anderson pointed out years ago that sometimes the enemy poses as our own voice, so we think we’re the ones thinking a thought when we’re actually being fed an idea by a malevolent voice that means us harm.
Third, you either accept or reject the idea. Accepting it means you give your assent—you internally give your nod of agreement. You switch every “you” and “your” to “I,” “me,” and “mine.” You’ve switched from a place of passive hearing to active thinking or speaking. Now the line is coming from your own voice.
Fourth, once you’ve accepted the idea, you act on it. You take a step to live as though the idea is true and reliable.
These third and fourth steps are the real problem. You may not realize what you’ve done, but by agreeing with the enemy, you’ve done something binding. It is akin to signing your name to that contract I told you about at the top of this post.
It can help to understand that, beginning with Adam and Eve, God has given people authority to rule:
“God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
When the serpent came to them in the Garden and they took a bite of what he was selling, they in essence signed over their authority to rule to him.
At minimum, your thoughts and feelings, your body and your actions are all a part of your domain. When the enemy comes with a lie, he is trying to get you to take his counsel and establish a “rule of law” for how your domain, your kingdom, your life are going to operate—either under the ways of God or under the enemy’s ways.
This is why it matters what thoughts we allow to enter our mind. As Dallas Willard put it in Renovation of the Heart:
If we allow everything access to our mind, we are simply asking to be kept in a state of mental turmoil or bondage. For nothing enters the mind without having an effect for good or evil.…The power to choose our thoughts is, as we said at the outset, our most basic freedom, our first and primary freedom, and we must use it well.
The concept of a “self-fulfilling prophesy” is more than just a state of mind.
Too many of God’s children are living under faulty decrees in their lives with no idea that they don’t have to. Jesus came to take back the authority that the enemy has stolen through his lies. When we understand this, we can take our rightful place as those to whom He shares His authority and His Kingdom:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Last week, we started a new podcast series all about discovering and breaking unholy agreements in our lives. I hope you’ll listen. I think it will be incredibly helpful to you.
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