By John Shaull, Regional Catalytic Church Planting Missionary
I mentioned in my last article that because we are spiritually “broken” people we don’t always think right, feel right or do right. Not only that, but according to Ephesians 6:10-20, we are in a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:10-12 states: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV) That being said, how do we overcome the “Liar” and his minions when he seeks to fill our minds with half truths about our value and worth as God’s creation?
In Frank Page’s book, Melissa, A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide, Dr. Page lists “Seven Steps to Spiritual Victory.” Here they are:
- Identify the Source.
-You must keep your senses trained to the presence of new or repeat thought patterns and be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2)
-Questions to ask yourself are: Is that true? Am I right to feel this way? Should I really consider doing that? Would I be wrong to say those words?
–John 14:7 says the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth”. Ask God to know that you are hearing His voice and not the enemy’s.
- Take every thought to its logical conclusion.
-Ask yourself, “Where would this thought take me if I followed it all the way home?” Will it draw you closer to God? Will it encourage you to be a better person, parent, spouse, or friend? (Ps. 19:14; John 8:32).
- Confess any thought you’ve wrongfully accepted.
-As God convicts you of embracing unhealthy, unwholesome thoughts-perhaps against Him, others, perhaps against the loved one whose suicide has rained such torment on your soul-be quick to release those harmful notions and admit you have been deceived. Ask God’s forgiveness. (I John 1:9) Keep accepting God’s truth as your only ticket forward.
- Develop good habits.
– You need quiet time with God in His word and in prayer. You need the structure of a regular schedule and realistic goals to achieve. You need the accountability of trusted Christian friends who have reason to care for you but also permission to speak plainly with you. You need limits on such empty-calorie consumables as television and mindless entertainment. And you need to guard these various pursuits so zealously that the enemy has little room for inserting idle thoughts into your inactive brain. (Phil. 4:8)
5. Position your armor daily.
–Place your spiritual armor on daily. Going through the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, shoes shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. Do this through prayer.
6. Practice godly common sense.
–Don’t jump into activities outside your gifting and skill set that drain you emotionally or frustrate you.
–Stop to recharge your batteries instead of overextending yourself.
–Limit your exposure to emotionally draining people.
7. Write down your victories.
-We have a tendency to remember our defeats and forget our victories. Do the opposite. Keep a daily journal in which your record your spiritual and emotional victories. Review it often. “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” (Ephe. 6:10)
There is no “miracle prescription” for dealing with the complicated human beings that we are. However, these insights can become a part of our spiritual and emotional arsenal when dealing with our personal pain. Always remember the price our Savior was willing to pay for us to be His!
“Reprint used by permission of Broadman Holman Press July, 2014.”