2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV84
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
My mental illness doesn’t present itself as voices, either inside or outside my head. What I contend with are feelings and thoughts. Painful, hopeless, anxious feelings that sometimes leave me thinking that I should give up. I call them satan’s fiery darts. And I used to give in to them. Then I battled them unsuccessfully. Now, after thinking about the preceding verse, I ask Jesus to take these thoughts captive and make them tell the truth.
The truth is that Jesus loves us. He has taken care of everything. We do not have to perform up to standards for Him to accept us. He accepts us just as we are. When we trust Him to save us from the punishment we deserve, we become His children. Two thousand years ago He took our shame and blame and suffered the punishment for it. There is nothing else to pay. He freely gives us His righteousness, Spirit, and life. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
The evil one, satan, attacks us when we are weakest, and attacks the weakest part of ourselves. That’s different for each one of us. What is a constant though, is that satan’s attacks are lies. They may contain some parts that are true, but the message that he conveys is always a lie.
Before I had a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus, I thought I was “pretty good”. I thought I was a Christian, which was a lie of satan (I liked Jesus’ philosophy but I did not know Him personally). I thought the few sins I had were no big deal, which was a lie of satan (they were not few and they were a huge deal). Satan had me completely deceived and so satan just kept telling me I was “pretty good”, I kept believing him, and so he didn’t need to do anymore to insure I was going to hell.
But once I surrendered to Jesus satan went on the attack. I was now a threat to him. He couldn’t change my new eternal destination (heaven with Jesus) but he could try and stop me from taking anyone with me. My experience has been that the more closely I follow Jesus, the more I notice satan’s attacks. And it seems like most of the time those attacks are thoughts and feelings, that is, satan’s fiery darts.
Jesus dealt with satan by appropriately quoting the Word of God, the Bible. We can too. Next time, I’ll post some verses that I’ve found helpful.