I was with a precious friend of mine tonight, and listening to her pour her heart out, as she's going through a really tough time.
At one point she said, "Jes, I just don't know when the thoughts that I battle are from the enemy and when they aren't!"
So I thought about it for a minute...I really pondered it with her.
I know what she means. I totally understand her question.
It is hard to know sometimes if what we're battling in our head is from the evil one or just from our own selfish flesh.
I suppose I'm still thinking about it...but one thing I believe is this....God doesn't work through condemnation.
He is called the accuser of the brethren, and it's a tactic he has polished well over the centuries.
Once you belong to the Lord, having repented of your sin, turned from it, and put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and followed Him, you are given the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit.
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit came to CONVICT the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement.
The Holy Spirit CONVICTS.
The enemy CONDEMNS.
That's the difference. Look at it through the lens of God's Word for a minute....
Regarding the Holy Spirit, this is Jesus speaking:
"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; John 16:9
concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
Regarding the enemy, satan:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.
He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, "Remove the filthy garments from him." Again he said to him, "See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes."
Then I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.
Do you see that? The enemy stood before the angel of the LORD to accuse one who God had plucked from the fire!
So, that's the litmus test for me....are the thoughts I'm battling ones of condemnation or of conviction?
Ones that accuse me and try to convince me of my worthlessness, or ones that make me bow before my Father, and submit to Him...
If the former, I'd be wise to say as Jesus did,
Zec 3:2 ...."The LORD rebuke you, satan!" and
..."Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.' "
If the latter, I'd be wise to listen, submit to God, and obey Him.