Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Planting Thoughts

A reader commented on my post about spiritual schizophrenia, saying she believed that "demons listen and find our natural flow and weakness and then shoot darts of thought and emotion in rapid fire till we receive and embrace one... they can according to my knowledge and experience implant thoughts and hope you will embrace them. Kind of like fishing. He will toss it in and see if he gets a nibble. There is a whole host working against you making it to the finish line, and if I may be bold to say, he takes more out with a sense of goodness in self than they do with the wickedness of evil."

Maybe. I'm not sure there's really a scripture to support this, though there is to support our unceasing, internal fight against the sin nature. The fact that our battle is not against flesh and blood -- people -- but against the forces of darkness in the atmosphere, however, does imply that people can be used by the demons to hinder and attack us. How exactly that's accomplished isn't spelled out. But Satan primarily went after Job's body and outward circumstances. There's no mention of his planting thoughts in Job's mind.

I definitely don't think there is a whole host of demons going after every believer, however. That's because Satan rules the world. He is the prince of the powers of the air. And what goes through air? Words. What are in words? Thoughts. His whole system of thinking -- independence from God: "I can do it myself, thank you" -- saturates the world. We are born into it. We inhale it, hear it, digest it, learn it, have it reinforced every day, all day. By everything around us. Our sin nature cleaves to it. Loves it. Gobbles it up.

Even the majority of believers live in it and embrace its principles, though often they cloak those principles with spiritual words and make them seem like something they're not. But Satan has his ministers of light that teach people how to be righteous, many believers are said to be enemies of the Cross of Christ, and we are specifically told to avoid those who have a form of the spiritual life but not the power, ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

"Worldliness" is not just sin, immorality and antagonism toward God. It's also morality and religion and outward "goodness." (The Pharisees were very moral, very religious, very "upright."). Worldliness is thinking in accordance with Satan's thought system, which is a counterfeit of God's. His initial desire, remember was not to be opposite of God but to be like God. To take God's place.

Since we cannot turn on the TV, radio, cell phone, read the paper, magazines, books, converse with others, go to work meetings or school meetings, etc, without being drenched in this thought system, and since most believers have adopted it in some way or other, what need have the demons of going after all of us? Since we all have a sin nature that loves the cosmic way of thinking, all they have to do is sit back and let that nature work as they control the media, the "air."

The biggest way I think they go after us is trying to get us away from the intake of God's word on a daily basis, which is our only hope of standing against this ubiquitous and continuous deceptive brainwashing by the world. That and try to get us to believe there is no angelic conflict. To reject what I said in the previous paragraph. To think there is something more important than God's word.

And while some of the thoughts we have may seem to us shocking and wicked... well... we are sick. From the tops of our heads to the soles of our feet, there is no soundness in us (Is 1:6). The hearts of men are full of evil and insanity (Eccl 9:3). Don't like to think that a part of you is evil and insane? Guess who's prompting that thought? Not the new nature (which is perfect and cannot sin, remember). When you sin, do things that shock you, think things that shock you... what's the big deal? You just fall back on what the scripture says about what wicked sinners we are in the flesh. Where's the shock when that flesh gets the better of us from time to time? We can really only be shocked if we think we're better than the Bible says we are.

And while the Bible does say we're nothing in the flesh, it also says the real us is not the flesh, because technically the flesh is dead. It's been dealt with -- so far as sin is concerned -- on the the cross. The real us, if we've believed in Jesus's atoning work on that cross, is that perfect new nature which carries the very righteousness of God in it which can never be lost. It's not I that sin, as Paul says in Romans 7, but the sin nature that dwells within me. And when that happens, all we have to do is confess it to get back into fellowship.

None of that to say the demons can't or don't plant thoughts in people's minds or move them in some undisclosed way to do things that hinder others who are going forward in God's plan. Nor even that they don't plant thoughts occasionally in the folks who are really far along in their Christian walk. I just don't think that's the case with me. I think my sin nature more than does the job they need it to do.

I will say that they do know exactly how to push my buttons to get that inner dead man to react... But that's for another post.