As children of God, we need to realize that we have an enemy. He knows that he has lost the battle for our heart, so he has refocused his efforts on our minds. If he can gain control of our thoughts, then he can render us ineffective in our spiritual lives.
When we are plagued by guilt over the sins of our past – even sins that have been forgiven – then we do not feel qualified or worthy to effectively serve in whatever capacity God has us. Whether we are mommies staying at home with our kids, missionaries in a foreign field, or the manager of an office, if we are controlled by the guilt of our past actions then we are often unwilling to deal with spiritual issues simply because the enemy continues to remind us of our sin and we feel inadequate.
The remedy for guilt is the acceptance of God’s forgiveness! We must go to God and admit what we’ve done and accept the forgiveness that He offers. Once that is done, the enemy has no grounds to bring up that sin again. However that doesn’t mean that he won’t try! He definitely will try to remind us of that sin. Often he characterizes us by that sin. If we have lied, then he will whisper, “You are a liar!” If it was a sexual sin, he will tell us “You are a tramp!” We must recognize that if a sin has been forgiven, then we are free and that when the enemy puts those thoughts into our minds, we need to reject them immediately. They have been covered by the blood of Christ and God sees us as righteous.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
One of the most paralyzing emotions that we experience is fear of the unknown. If the enemy can get our focus off the promises of God and on to the “what ifs” of life, then the fear of what might happen can leave us afraid to move. Maybe we feel a tug at our hearts and we know that it is God wanting us to get involved in a ministry, or to share the gospel with our neighbors, or to ask for forgiveness from someone we wronged long ago. But the fear of failure, rejection, or being ridiculed paralyzes us and we do not have the courage to obey.
The remedy for fear is trust in God. By refocusing our thoughts from our circumstances and the fear of unknown and turning them toward God, we are recognizing that He is in control. We begin to understand that if we obey God, and even if we are rejected or ridiculed, that we are walking in trust.
Colossians 3:1-4 summarizes where our attention should be focused. Verse 2 says “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
By being aware of our enemy’s efforts to make us ineffective in our Christian walk, and by knowing the truth of God’s Word, we can confidently reject the thoughts that are not in line with God’s Word. Our greatest weapon is being so familiar with God’s Word that we immediately recognize the thoughts that come into our minds that are from our enemy.