We’ve all seen the cartoons where a person has a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other one. Both are whispering in his ears, trying to convince him to do what they want him to do.
Those may be cartoons but I believe that is an example of art imitating life.
You see, when it comes to spiritual warfare I believe the primary battleground takes place between our ears. The battlefield is our mind.
There may not be a literal minuature devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear but I do believe there is something “whispering” thoughts into your mind. And they aren’t angels.
Consider this: Have you had a thought just “pop” into your mind that is less than God-honoring? A thought filled with lust or hatred or pride or envy. Where do you think that thought came from? Where it originated from? Like most American Christians we think that thought originated from within.
But what if it originated from somewhere else? Or someone else?
I want to share a quote from John Eldredge. If you know me, you know I am a “book guy” and a “quote guy.” I love reading in my free time and I love sharing quotes when I preach. Well, this quote by Eldredge is one of the most profound quotes I have come across in a long, long time:
Do you find yourself coming to conclusions about what another person is thinking or feeling toward you? . . . What you think your wife, your boss, and your closest friends thinks about you these days, then ask yourself, have they actually said that to me, or is that just what I “sense” is going on?
That quote rings true in my life and I bet it rings true in yours as well.
The devil whispers into our ear and plants thoughts into our mind and we begin to assume the worst about a person instead of choosing to believe the best. We begin to judge others instead of loving them. We get mad at them even if there is nothing in reality to be mad at them about. Or we assume they are mad at us and we judge them for that!
When we choose to dwell on those negative thoughts about others, we build barriers between us and them…and we are playing right into the devil’s hand.
God’s goal: relationship. Relationship with Jesus and with others.
Satan’s goal: isolation. Isolation from God and from others.
So the next time a negative thought about someone “pops” into your mind and it is not a thought that is good or praiseworthy (see Philippians 4:8), do what Paul told us to do and “take it captive.” (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
***If you liked what I wrote in this blog it’s a sneak preview of where I am headed this Sunday. My message is titled “A Devil On Your Shoulder” as I take a look at Matthew 8:28-34. January 15th. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***