Today it was my pleasure to share the message of Fiery Darts to an endearing group of ladies at Mt Lebanon Baptist Church during their Sunday school hour. We dealt with how fiery darts relates to the following questions:
1 – Am I free from trying to win the approval and acceptance of other people, even those who are closest to me (such as spouse and children)?
2 – Have I learned what it means to take every thought captive and make them obedient to God’s truth that is clearly revealed by His Word and His Spirit?
3 – Am I well equipped to fight battles in my thinking, circumstances, and relationship and as a result stand strong in my faith?
We learned that our answers to the above questions are largely determined by where our thoughts dwell, the carnal realm or God’s Word.
An excerpt from Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice added a foundation for our discussion.
When a person becomes a Christian they are given a new nature, one that is the direct opposite of their old nature. Formerly, their will was directed by their old nature, but at the point of salvation, their old nature was dethroned. Their will is now directed by their new nature. (This civil war is fully explained in Romans 8:1-11, see page 95.) With this comes a hunger to study the Bible and to maintain consistent communication with God through prayer. The old nature, the flesh, resists such desires. Eventually, Satan arrives on the scene with his first and most formidable fiery dart—tempting their old nature with powerful distractions, making it harder and harder for new believers to commit to consistent Bible study and time in prayer. P 43
Satan knows that our sinful nature (flesh) is set against God, as well as the values and priorities of the unsaved world. He uses that to deceive and manipulate us.
A sure fire way to avoid his deception and manipulation is found in
Rom. 12:2, Do not be conformed to (the world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
How are we going to renew our minds and become discerning as to God’s will? By devoting ourselves to prayer and the study of the Bible.
As we mature in wisdom and understanding, what we learn from spending time with God in prayer and His Word will expose the enemy’s plan (John 10a, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy) and reveals God’s plan (John 10:10b & Jer. 29:11)
But in God’s Word in particular Ephesians 6:16 reveals God’s plan to undo Satan’s plan,
In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one.
There are times when our thoughts seem to become more anxious by the moment.
Recently, anxious thoughts took center stage in my mind. They indeed appeared to multiply. The fiery darts of worry and fear joined forces with doubt and confusion. The problem loomed large. My ability to handle it grew smaller. I was close to feeling overwhelmed. I needed peace of mind.
Then God gave me a Truth thought that settled me down.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
As I meditated on this verse, I gained a new perspective on my problem.
God had gone on before me. You know out there where that problem was.
When I get to the point where I have to face the problem, I am not going to be by myself. God assures me He will be with me the whole way!
Fear and discouragement get left behind!
Now that’s what I call Consolation!
I asked God for a physical sign that He would protect me and not allow me to be taken advantage of. Normally, I don’t ask God for a sign. But this time, I felt it was necessary, considering my weakness. He gave me that sign!
So every time, the fiery darts of doubt, fear, discouragement, etc., attack, there’s my sign reminding me of God’s promises from Deuteronomy. That’s when the verse from Philippines 4:6-7 comes into play.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. NIV
Did you notice God’s peace (which I am sorely in need of) will guard my heart and mind, surpassing all those multiplying anxious thoughts!
Now, I must focus on these verses whenever I’m tempted with anxious thoughts. If I take this approach, I will face the future, where my problem looms, with confidence in God. He has gone on before me, remember!
Too often our minds are cluttered with thoughts not of God’s design. Cluttered thinking prevents us from hearing God’s quite voice. Life get’s confused and complicated. Solutions to problems evade us. Our vision becomes clouded and we loose our direction. Thoughts such as these are what I call ‘fiery darts.’ Designed to undermine the work of God in our lives.
If you have ever been plagued with such thoughts, perhaps the following will give you a lift:
Beyond the boundaries of my front porch view, lies a world troubled and confused.
A world full of people who have lost their way.
People who can no longer recognize the beauty of truth.
Peace escapes them, in spite of all their grasping.
Solutions to problems remain unfound.
Life is lived at a fast pace, so, little is heard of God’s voice.
Loosing sight of what’s valuable, is the result.
But here on my front porch, time stands still.
Allowing me to pause and experience His quietness:
A dove cooing in the distance, joins the bird chorus nearby.
Hummingbirds buzzing near my porch feeders.
Silky, gentle breezes offers accent to my reverie.
I feast on the green of the hay fields, and mown lawn laid out before me.
Trees in the spring freshness of their green bordering my view,
Allow me to bask in a morning set at the perfect temperature.
As I gaze upon the scene before me,
Disturbing thoughts of worry and fear give way to thoughts more sublime,
When our children begin to experience this stirring, if we parents haven’t availed ourselves to the connection between it and God, then we become prime targets for Satan’s fiery darts. Therefore, for lack of knowledge, we will usher our children along a path that we never would have desired. We will assume, right along with society, that our children are reaching the ‘dating age’ (and alarmingly, in our culture this happens earlier and earlier) when the search for ‘true love’ naturally begins.
Just what Satan has planned!
But wait, here’s what he is attempting to keep us (especially Christian parents) from realizing:
The Stirring – According to God
Remember in Part One, I said that Satan has a plan for our lives and that is to kill, steal, and destroy whatever it is that God has planned for us. Let’s go back to that “stirring” I mentioned earlier. Could it be that the stirring in our heart that initiates a search for true love is the Holy Spirit calling us to a love relationship with our Creator? I think so! Why else would Satan enforce a plan to do everything he could to make sure that we misunderstand what this stirring encompasses? FD, p. 54-55
As parents, if we buy into this misconception of ‘the stirring’ then our focus regarding our children and dating will be completely out of balance. We will think how else are they going to find that one that God wants for them. For in the process, they will grow in their understanding of love and how to recognize the real thing, right?
Sounds logical, doesn’t it!
Indeed, we do need to help our children learn how to recognize genuine love. But the place to start is in committing their lives to God then sitting at Jesus’s feet as He teaches them about the love He displayed for them. They then go from there putting into practice what they have learned from Jesus about genuine love, but first within the context of their own families; romantic love following much later.
If in those early years we set our focus on cooperating with God as He teaches us the true meaning of love, then our future attitudes and actions will reflect an appropriate definition of love because our textbook was God’s Word; in particular, verses like 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. . . We could do nothing better to prepare us to live life and love others, especially a future spouse successfully, by studying and applying the truths about love from the Book written by the Author of love! FD, p. 55
There’s much more on this subject in my book. If you are interested then check out the sidebar about how to order, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice. (By the way, it would make a great Christmas gift!)
In observing the effect fiery dart thinking has on people, I am drawing some disturbing conclusions. I have listened and observed as people (whose lives exhibit some semblance of Christianity) describe a lifestyle that is in direct contradiction to the one given to us by God. They attend church ( perhaps not regularly) and know all the familiar Christian lingo. But they live as if there is no contradiction in their lifestyle.
How can this be?
Could it be that they have lost their sensitivity to sin? They seemingly are not bothered with conviction about their lifestyle. Even though their lives are marked with pain and unfulfilled dreams, the realization that their disobedience could be the source of their disillusionment never kicks in.
I know that when we are first convicted about sin in our lives, the temptation is to ignore it, deny it, or to begin justifying it. And though this is where the Enemy is most easily conquered, this is where for many Satan gains full entry.
“Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks. . . .Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.” p. 46 FD (Thomas Kempis)
This, I conclude, is how an individual can live contrary to God and in alliance with the world without apparent guilt! The fiery darts that justifies their sin, if not resisted, will eventually release so much poison into their thinking that they become blinded to God’s Truth. Therefore, they may be convinced they are something they are not! You know, right becomes wrong!
But there’s good news!
These poisonous thoughts (fiery darts) CAN BE conquered dear reader! Not overnight, but by attacking one thought at a time, as directed by the prayer and Bible study I refer to in Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice! It will take some longer than others depending on the amount of poison that has infected their thinking, but there is a future for them that is free of this bondage! It’s God’s plan:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (NIV) Jeremiah 29:11
Over the weekend another beheading took place and an attack on an US embassy by a terrorist group was foiled in a major African country. U.S. citizens there are being asked to be watchful and careful!
Fighting in Israel has disrupted daily life now for months. In my own country, a Jewish friend fears for her safety when attending the synagogue to celebrate upcoming holy days. I understand that it’s typical to have armed guards surrounding the synagogue during these events.
All over the world, persecution of Christians is on the rise. Much of it originating within terrorists cells, not only targeting Christians but Jews as well.
I have friends in the city where the US embassy was put on guard. They are okay at present but have been warned to be careful and alert. I also have family members living in a not too distant area from there.
Am I tempted to fear? You bet, I am!
Do I give into fear? Not as long as I do the following:
First, as soon as the temptation to fear enters my mind, I RECOGNIZE it as a fiery dart.
Second, I put up my shield of faith and RESIST it.
Third, I REPLACE the fearful thought with a Truth thought, and in this case it’s 2 Timothy 1:7,For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Every single time a fearful thought seeks to embed itself into my thinking, I shift into Recognize, Resist, and Replace mode of behavior.
What is the effect of this behavior?
God tells me that fear is not something from Him. So on that fact alone, I reject it! ! ! ! !
God tells me He has given me the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, instead. Therefore, any action I take, any words I speak, or thoughts I think, having to do with the evil running rampant in this world today should be defined by what God has given me–
NOT FEAR! ! ! ! ! !
Based on the following blog post: https://fierydarts.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/the-3-rs-of-fighting-fiery-darts-revised-plan/
Recently, I came across a Facebook post of a young woman that troubled my heart. Her words revealed that fiery darts had completely obliterated her understanding of genuine love. Her words spoke of a relationship that was deceptive, inflicted pain, played games, desired what was not theirs! A relationship much like her divorced parents. What troubles me? Both the young woman and her divorced parents are products of the Christian church.
Sadly, too many Christians have succumbed to the fiery dart (the temptation) to spend less and less time in prayer and Bible study. Much of the pain and trouble we have come to know in our marriages can be traced back to this fiery dart. The more time we spend away from God the more disconnected we become and the more cloudy becomes our understanding of how to live life!
. . .Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study!. . .What we teach our children, how we define true love, how we view our marriage, how we deal with difficulties, etc., will all be influenced by what we learn from God’s Word and prayer. FD, p. 76
Is it any wonder that when we push the map (God’s Word) aside, we loose sight of how to get to where we need to go? The Bible, for instance, gives us precise instruction as to the purpose of marriage in Ephesians 5:25-26. But if we don’t avail ourselves to this wisdom, then we have the bloody mess (sorry, but I’m feeling this pretty strongly) we find ourselves in today!
. . .They don’t see how fiery darts have so dulled their sensitivity toward the things of God, that they honestly think they have no alternative other than divorce. Because, you see, that marriage was all about them; they just couldn’t see that it was an instrument of God’s to conform them into the image of His Son and draw an unbelieving world to Himself! FD, p. 75
Did you realize that most people are clueless about why God designed marriage. Though we are without excuse, many of us in the church are as well! Please consider reading my book and in particular chapters 7 & 8, for more insight into love and marriage and God’s design for both.