Recently, in the midst of a joyous time of my life (externally), I have been plagued by an onslaught of negative thinking. Odd though it may be that I would be attacked like this when my days were filled with happy events, considering my bent I’m not surprised. For there was a time (starting in my mid twenties and intensifying as the years passed) when negative thinking and God’s Truths waged a battle royal and too often negative thinking won out.
Over the years this negative thinking on my part forged a stronghold that continuously threatened the spiritual renewal that had taken place in the early years of my adulthood. Afterwords as life began to happen, I struggled with maintaining a consistency in my bible study and prayer life. Predictably, the spiritual renewal that was burning within me instead of increasing in strength began to dwindle, leaving me vulnerable to negative thinking. Thus bit by bit, negative thoughts laid the groundwork for a stronghold that could have ruined my life had not I cried out to God for His rescue. Psalm 18:6 God indeed rescued me and enabled me to survive those dark days, but it was only since learning about the enemy’s tactics in the use of fiery darts that I began to make sense out of the whole mess.
This was the stronghold that God addressed when He began exposing the enemy’s tactics that had held me captive for too many years. As dominant as this stronghold was in my life, I now realize I must be diligent in my prayers and bible study (nothing else can substitute). I know my vulnerability and to the degree I stay diligent in these two disciplines, the power this stronghold has over me can be overthrown.
So in the midst of this recent attempted attack by the enemy, God faithfully guided me towards the following words fromJesus Calling:
Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings… It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.
As I read the above words, it clarified for me how it was that I could harbor such internal negative feelings while in the happy throws of a long awaited family celebration. As long as I was more focused on negative thoughts, my negative feelings would not be displaced, no matter what was going on externally.
So when the enemy tempts me with fiery dart thinking, I have learned that to know Peace I must make a deliberate choice to turn my focus toward God and His presence. It’s been my experience that’s the only sure way to break free of the enemy’s stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
A downward spiral is an concise visual of what can happen to a Christian who becomes more focused on their problems than God!
Okay, now with that visual in mind let’s examine how a downward spiral can occur. Do you ever experience times in your life when the work you have to do seems overwhelming? There’s too much to do and too little time to do it! The stress builds and builds and you feel ill equipped to do much about it. You want to run away to some place calm and peaceful so you can be free of the stress–but you are stuck where you are and there seems to be no way of escape.
And on top of all this, there are problems troubling your mind. Some of them have lingered around, unresolved, for quite some time. And always new problems, with no regard for the unresolved problems you already face, weasel their way into your already overburdened mind.
If the above is what you find yourself dealing with, trust me you are either in a downward spiral or on the very edge of it. You are being plummeted with fiery darts (perhaps you didn’t realize that!)
HOWEVER, there is very good news: you can be rescued from a downward spiral! There is a force powerful enough to prevent you from falling into one or pulling you out of one.
THAT FORCE IS GOD!
I would like to give you an assignment. I want you to set aside (daily) a time to read your Bible (I am going to suggest some verses) and crawl up in God’s lap to share your heart with Him and to listen to what He wants to say to you. And, by the way, keep a journal of your time with God. (There are journal assignments after chapters 3, 4, 5, & 6 of my book. A good place to start!)
You MUST make this a priority. And believe me, at this point you have no idea of the pressure and distractions that will come to keep you from doing this. (Just keep in mind your enemy, Satan, knows that you will break free of the bondage of negative thinking by doing this!)
Scriptures are obvious in describing Satan’s plan in John 10:10a, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;…” (NIV) So what is it that the Enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy? The answer is obvious – anything God has planned for us! p. 1, FD
Even if it is only 2 or 3 minutes to begin with, JUST DO IT! The fiery dart thoughts will tempt you to wait until you have more time to spend with God. But you know and I know that is a cleverly disguised fiery dart. DON’T GIVE IN TO IT!
Now, here are some verses to get you started:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV
Turn to me and be gracious to me,for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Psalm 25:16-17 NIV
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 NIV
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me,for you are God my Savior,and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
All right then, now you’ve got a place to start! Again, I recommend the journal assignments as you read my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.