The Scriptures are clear that as believers we are involved in a battle with an invisible enemy and his envoys. When there is discord, hatred, envy, rage, and any other harmful forces pulling people apart we need to be aware that a demonic reality is seeking to gain ground. Jesus warned even believers that letting “the sun go down while you are still angry” can “give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).
Holding onto anger is very destructive, but so is holding onto a lie. This can be more subtle and unconscious but equally harmful. When a person believes something that is untrue the devil has power over that individual. Here are some lies we humans sometimes believe:
- “If I tell others about the abuse I am suffering or have suffered, they will not listen to me.” Believing this lie keeps the victim of abuse from seeking or finding help and healing.
- “I am ugly.” Degrading our person and not recognizing the beauty and wonder God has put into each human being can lead to depression, obsession with body image, or self-harm.
- “Everything is fine.” Denying problems is a trap. We do nothing to address them and then they snowball. Admitting we need help, first to ourselves and to God, is the first step to overcoming a problem, including an addiction.
- “This difficulty I am in will never end.” Difficulties can overwhelm us, but when we believe things will never improve we may lose sleep, become despairing, and worse. The devil wants to rob people of hope, but God wants us to “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13b).
- “I can’t trust anyone but myself.” This lie often results from being hurt by trusted individuals in the past as a way to try to protect oneself from further hurt. The problem is that by being suspicious of everyone, we miss out on the blessings of true love and closeness that are wonderful and possible. We become hard-hearted.
- “This is mine!” When we say this we are putting high value on a material thing. As portrayed in The Hobbit, the character Gollum makes a ring into his everything and calls it “My precious.” Holding tightly to this possession destroys his personhood and makes him loathsome to himself and others. Everything we have belongs ultimately to God who entrusts it to us for a relatively short period of time.
The messages we allow to settle in our heads as we live our daily lives are very powerful, for good or for ill. Be conscious today of the things you are saying to yourself and test them against the perfect standard of truth in the Scriptures. After all, the greatest weapon we have against our enemy is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17b).