Robert Jeffress - Winning The Mind Games
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Maybe you've found yourself in this scenario before life is finally starting to get back on track. After a season of hardship, it seems as if God is really pouring out his blessings, then without warning, a new trial comes along and you begin to question God's goodness, and his sovereignty, is this really God's doing, or is there something else at play? Well today, I want to show you how Satan uses our own minds to wage war against our souls. My message is titled "Winning The Mind Games" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
In his book "Among the Heroes", Jere Longman describes in terrifying details. The extensive preparation that the terrorists made, who hijacked United Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001, before they crashed that plane into the field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. These terrorists believed that they were in a holy war. They were in a war against evil itself, and they prepared accordingly, listen to Longman's account of what happened. By now, the morning of September 11th, the four Islamic men in the first class section were to have made an oath to die. Showered, shaved the excess on their bodies and splashed themselves with cologne.
They had been given detailed handwritten instructions on how to prepare for their final hours on earth. The letter was to have been read the previous night. It was a spiritual and practical guide on how the terrorist should fortify against self doubt and in-fighting. How they should prepare to enter paradise by killing their victims and then themselves, they blessed their bodies by reading the Quran by a rubbing of the hands, they also bless their luggage, clothes, knives, IDs, passports and papers. Check your weapons before you leave, and long before you leave, you must make your knife sharp and must not discomfort your animal during the slaughter.
They tightened their clothes before the battle, they secured their shoes and wore socks to make sure their feet would stay in their shoes. They said a morning, prayer is a group, "Oh Lord, take your anger out on the enemy. And we ask you to protect us from their evils. And oh Lord protect me from them as you wish. And oh Lord blocked their vision from in front of them so that they may not see". When the confrontation began, they were to clench their teeth and strike like champions who do not want to go back into this world. They were to shout "Allahu Akbar", God is great because quote, "This strikes fear in the hearts of the infidels".
Prayer, mental focus, the sharpening of knives, making sure the clothes were tucked in these terrorists knew those kinds of preparations were absolutely essential. If they were going to win in their battle against evil. Now, I want you to contrast their preparation for warfare with the preparation of the average Christian for our warfare. Oh sure we say, we believe there's a Satan out there and demons. We give intellectual ascent to the idea of spiritual warfare, but we really don't believe it.
Look at our hit and miss lackadaisical approach to the Christian life. We pray if we feel like it, or our backs are up against the wall, we only read our Bibles if there's nothing better to watch on television, we possess very real, very limited knowledge of our real enemy or his methods against us. We allow ourselves to become so distracted by the enemy that we fail to see that fatal blow that is being waged against us. We fail to utilize the spiritual resources that God has given to us. No wonder so many Christians fall so easily into the trap of immorality, experience the dissolution of their marriages, lose the battle against depression or find themselves compromising their integrity. The fact is we're not prepared for the battle contrast the passivity of most Christians with how Paul says, "We ought to prepare for battle".
Remember his words in Ephesians 6:10-13, he said, "Finally be strong in the Lord. And in the strength of his might, put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places". Therefore take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm.
Do you hear those commands? Be strong, put on, take up, stand firm. Paul is talking about a soldier who is alert and armed for the battle in which he is fighting instead of snoozing as the bullets buzz and the bombs burst overhead. And the series on spiritual warfare, we've talked about the reality of Satan, who he is. We've talked about demons, we talked about what Satan wants to accomplish in your life. Primarily he would love to blind you to the Gospel so that he can have your spirit for all eternity. But if he can't succeed there, if you go over to the dark side to him, that would be Jesus Christ.
If you happen to join Jesus kingdom Satan still doesn't give up on you, he has a plan to destroy your faith, your family, your future, everything important to you. And we've seen what his blueprint for that destruction is. But if we're going to be aware and alert for this battle, it seems that a good question to ask would be well, where is this battle actually being waged? What is the primary battlefield for the struggle that's taking place this life and death struggle? Contrary to what a lot of Christians think the primary battlefield for Satan's war against you is not in the home, it's not in the church. It's really not even in this world. The primary battlefield for spiritual warfare is our mind.
Our mind is the battlefield in which the forces of good and evil are waging for control of your soul. And that's why this morning, we're going to talk about how to win the mind games that Satan wages against you. And I want to take a moment, I want you to turn to Philippians 4:8-9. Paul says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true. Whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely. Whatever is of good repute. If there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise dwell," that's another word for think on these things, "The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things and the God of peace will be with you". It is by what you think about, that you receive the supernatural peace of God. Our thoughts are the conduit through which God pours his thoughts and our life.
Now, it only makes sense that if God influences you and me through our thoughts, that Satan also is going to influence us through our thoughts. And in the final few moments we had this morning, I'd like to suggest to you four channels through which Satan tries to influence our thoughts. Four channels of Satan's communication in our life, through which he tries to seize our thoughts and ultimately control our destiny. First of all, sometimes Satan influences our thoughts through our desires, through our desires.
Now every morning of my life, I turn on my Apple Macintosh computer. And you know when I took that computer out of the box for the first time, it already had an operating system that was installed in that computer, an operating system that determined what that computer could and could not do. Every morning when I turn on my Apple computer, there's not some engineer out in Simi valley who is connected to my computer, telling it what to do and what not to do. That's not necessary because my computer has already been hardwired with this operating system.
Now folks, when you and I came out of the box, so to speak at the time of our birth, you and I were also hardwired with an operating system. It's an operating system that tells us what to do and what not to do. Here's the problem our operating system is defective. That is a virus has invaded it called the sin virus. It came through our forefathers, Adam and Eve when they fell that sin, that virus infected every one of us. And it has made our operating system defective so that whenever God says you shall, our default position is I shall not. And when God says you shall not, our default system says, "I shall". We all have this defective operating system.
You know, you realize that if Satan were destroyed tomorrow, there would still be murder, immorality, theft, every kind of sin, still in the world today because all of us have been wired in such a way to rebel against God. As Satan doesn't have to directly communicate to us in order to influence us. We all have that sin nature within us.
Now Satan understands that truth as well. He understands that we're wired that way, but here's his problem. When we become a Christian, when we trust in Christ as our Savior, God puts in you a brand new operating system, an operating system called the Holy Spirit of God. And the Holy Spirit of God gives you a whole new set of desires when God says yes, you want to say yes when God says no, you want to say no. And so those two operating systems are constantly battling one another for control of your life. According to Galatians 5. Now Satan understands that truth. And that's why he knows he can't rely on our Christian's sin nature alone, to influences his lie. And so sometimes Satan has to resort to other means through which to try to influence our life. And that leads us to a second way that Satan influences us and that is through other mediums.
Let's say there was this box, that was able to talk to us. In fact, not only could this box talk to us, but it could also show sparkling colorful alluring images. And let's say this talking box that showed these beautiful pictures was in the center of every family's home in America today and in the world. And let's say out of this talking box was an invitation accompanied by beautiful illustrations an invitation to experience sex without commitment, wealth without work, disobedience without consequences. And this box was so appealing and the invitation so alluring that people couldn't turn it off. It would run eight hours a day, 365 days a year in people's homes inviting them to disobedience.
"Oh Robert are you saying television is evil"? No, not at all. Hope not, 'cause some of you are watching it right now. Television is not good or evil, it is a neutral medium, but it's a medium that Satan can use to voice his enticements to us. And just like internet sites, books, other media are neutral in and of themselves, but Satan can utilize them to speak his messages to us. By the way, you know things like Ouija board and horoscopes they have absolutely no power in and of themselves. But the reason God says stay away from them. Don't use them is because knows Satan can take those harmless neutral mediums and use them to communicate to us.
Thirdly, sometimes Satan speaks to us through other people, through other people, now we saw about the man who's is controlled by the many demons. Remember the demon, legion, seized control of the man's vocal chords and spoke directly to Jesus through this man's body. Now sometimes Satan can actually use, use Christians as well as non-Christians to voice his message to us. Remember in Matthew 16:23, Peter was trying to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross. What did Jesus say in Matthew 16:23? Get thee behind me Satan. Why did he say that? He realized that Peter was simply being used by Satan to voice an invitation to disobedience to God. The same way in your life. Not every word somebody speaks to you is coming from God.
Sometimes God will use a friend, your mate, even a pastor to voice his message of disobedience to you. And that's why you need to carefully evaluate every message that comes to you through other people. How can I know for sure, whether God is speaking to me through this person or Satan to speaking to me through this person, let me give you three filters to use when you're evaluating the words of other people. First of all, are these words true?
In John 8:44, Jesus said, "Satan is a liar and he is the father of all lies". When somebody comes to you with a railing accusation against you, that has no basis in facts. You can know that Satan is the source of those accusations. The Bible says he's the accuser of the brethren, are these words true? Secondly, do these words motivate me to faith or to fear. Sometimes Satan wants to place paralyzing thoughts into our life that keep us from moving toward God words that just seize our minds and paralyze us with fear. Where does that come from?
2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and of a sound mind". No, when somebody speaks words to you, listen to this words that cause you to question the goodness of God, the love of God, the power of God over your circumstances, that's Satan communicating his thoughts to you. Do these words motivate me to faith or to fear. A third filter to use is this, do these words contradict the teaching of scripture. When somebody speaks to you, ask yourself, do these words affirm or do they contradict the teaching of scripture? Remember the serpent said to the woman, you shall not die, if you eat of this tree.
Now God had said, in the day that you eat of this tree, you shall die. The serpent said, "No, you shall not die amazingly Eve chose to believe the serpent rather than God". She said, "I believe this serpent knows what is best for my life. More than God knows what is best for my life". Whenever that employer comes to you and says, "Why not fudge the truth here a little bit. Why not break this law in order to accomplish the goal"? Or whenever that mate comes to you and says, "You need to put your allegiance to me above your allegiance to God". Whenever the temptress comes to you and says, "Nobody's going to get hurt with this". Somebody said, "All sin is basically contempt for God".
The reason Adam and Eve disobeyed God is they believed God was trying to deprive them of something really good. Eve said, "I'm going to obey the serpent rather than God, because he knows what's best for my life". That's why it's important that we carefully evaluate every word that is spoken to us. Fourthly, sometimes Satan speaks to us through direct means. Sometimes he'll actually communicate to us or one of his demons will without any intermediary. Now let me ask you if this has ever happened to you, have you ever been somewhere, maybe even sitting in church when out of nowhere, this random thought comes into your mind. A random thought that is so sinful, so overtly evil, you go, "Wow, where did that come from"? It may be even a blasphemous thought about God or his son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Has that ever happened to you? You wonder where do those things come from? Well, sometimes it comes from our corrupted desires, but many times it is simply Satan or his demons speaking to us. "Now, Robert are you saying a born again Christian indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Are you saying a Christian can be talked to you by Satan and his demons"? Absolutely, let me give you a great illustration of that in scripture. 1 Chronicles 21:1-3, David was a man after God's own heart. And yet he experienced Satan talking to him directly.
Look at 1 Chronicles 21:1-3, "Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the princes of the people 'go number Israel from Beersheba, even to Dan and bring me word that I may know their number'. Joab said, 'may the Lord add to his people 100 times as many as they are, but my Lord, the king, are they not all my Lord's servants? Why does my Lord seek this thing? Why should he cause of guilt to Israel'"?
Let me explain what was going on here. David got this idea of one day. He said, "You know what Joab, we need to count and see how many troops we have. We need to know how many troops we have before we go into battle". You say, "Well, that's a wise decision. What's wrong with that"? What's wrong, is that God said, "Don't do it". God said, "If you start counting your troops, it means you're depending upon your troops, rather than my power to protect you. So I don't want you to number your troops". David says to Joab, "I want you to number the troops". Joab says, "David, why would we do this? They're all under your control. Why would we disobey God and incur his wrath"? What would cause David to do such a foolish thing? Verse 1 tells us, "It is Satan who moved in David's heart to commit that sin". It was Satan who whispered into David's ears.
You know what, you better count the cost "Before you go into battle. You better go ahead and do what's this practical thing, even though God said not to do it". My point is simply this, sometimes Satan himself can be the one who is speaking to us. How do I know if the thoughts I'm having are coming from Satan?
Again, go back to those three filters I gave you. When these thoughts come into your mind and you wonder if they're Satanic thoughts, ask yourself the question. First of all, are these thoughts true? Secondly, do these thoughts motivate me to faith or to fear? If David had asked that question, he would have known, this is a thought that's motivating me to fear, to fear for my protection. And thirdly, do these thoughts violate the clear teaching of scripture? Well, what kind of thoughts does Satan try to plant in our minds? Really, that list is endless, but he has some favorites, because there are some of his lies that work particularly effectively and next time we're going to look at Satan's four favorite lies, and what you can do to combat them.