So, how do you tell the difference?
I dealt with that question briefly in Chapter Five of my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice
So how do we recognize fiery darts? Examine the effect the “suspicious thought” has on you. Does it produce confusion, fear, doubt, anger, inferiority, indecisiveness, jealously, or selfishness, for example? It would be wise to consider where such thoughts could lead. For example, thoughts of self-sufficiency can lead to a decreased dependency on God. Thoughts of jealously could lead to revengeful actions. I’m sure you get the point. These thoughts are designed for your destruction. Knowing that sin will certainly proceed from thoughts of this nature, Satan’s plan to destroy us is set in motion. Therefore, if the thought’s natural end is sin, then it is obvious Satan’s fiery darts have been influencing your thinking. p. 33-34
Once I began this study which developed into my book, I gained insight early on into the obvious difference between the two. Negative thinking when examined using the approach described in the above insert, exposed some types of fiery darts rather easily
But as my skills improved in identifying these rather obvious fiery darts, the more subtle ones began proving to be more difficult. The fiery darts that were getting to me, usually came in the form of self-condemnation.
I was caught off guard by the fiery darts that would attack me during my prayer time or when contemplating a prayerful thought!
Perhaps I would be pondering a problem or an issue I might be having with another person. Before I realized it thoughts of a self-condemning nature would invade my mind and take over my thinking. I could not see clearly how I should deal with the issue or problem I might be pondering because my mind was being diverted by the fiery darts of self-condemnation.
Satan continues to confuse us as to what is truth and what is a lie. I realized by his taking a bit of truth and wrapping it around a lie, Satan had masterfully manipulated me into considering the corrupted truth and my sensitivity toward the lie lessened with every temptation. p. 20
Do you see how I was being manipulated?
The self-condemning thoughts contained truth about myself. Therefore, how could I ignore them? Slowly my focus was being diverted from seeking answers on how to deal with the issues or problems I might be having with someone else, to the point that I lost any clarity or insight on how to deal with the problem. It seemed every time I attempted to seek these type of answers, the fiery darts of self-condemnation thwarted my success.
Keep in mind that conviction brings restoration, a fiery dart brings condemnation. p. 79
Making sense yet?
My own condemnation blinded me from see God’s solutions.
There is a powerful verse that I would like to share with you that is proving to liberate me from this entrapment of self-condemnation.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8:1 NIV
When I am prayerfully seeking answers on how to deal with an issue or problem I might be having with another person, I remember the verse above. I try hard to remember that God desires for me to receive the answers I am seeking and that condemning me won’t accomplish that. He has always been able to gently and lovingly convict me of my sin in a non-critical manner and without putting me on the defensive. I respond to loving conviction and am lifted up; condemnation, on the other hand, only drags me down.
And therein lies the difference!