Recently I was privileged to speak to a group of ladies highlighting the connection between fiery darts and making disciples. Here’s some excerpts from my presentation:
Satan has very cleverly devised fiery darts aimed to create confusion concerning how evangelism and making disciples work together to fulfill the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19)
Terms Satan does not want us to understand:
Conversion which leads ultimately to salvation begins with an awareness of sins that we’ve committed, as well as the fact that we have a nature inclined to sin.
Conversion makes us a follower of Christ; not necessarily a disciple.
Discipleship is about teaching; teaching new converts how to obey the commands of Christ.
A disciple is one who learns from another disciple how to live the Christian life, then shares what they are learning to produce more disciples, who share and produce more disciples. . . (But a disciple must be a convert)
What is Satan up to by concealing from individuals the importance of making disciples?
His plan is to manipulate us into thinking that once we are born into God’s family, then that’s all there is. (thus concealing our need to be discipled) John 10:10a
By not being discipled our spiritual growth can be hindered thus rendering us weak and ineffective as Christians. A weakened Christian looks no different from a non-Christian. Matthew 5:13
Due to the lack of training in understanding the truths from the Bible and how those truths apply to our daily lives, our foundation lacks stability. And the assurance of our salvation becomes sketchy. John 10:28
Without discipleship, we are uninformed on how to handle life’s problems. We are doomed to be manipulated and deceived by the enemy. Ephesians 6:16
Christianity becomes something we consume for ourselves; for what we can get out of it. Bible study after Bible study, without applying those truths and sharing those truths with others, benefits no one but ourselves. Matthew 5:15
Satan doesn’t want our foundation to be established upon the Rock; no he plans for it to be formed on sinking sand (without discipleship this is a real possibility.) Matthew 7:24-27
Next time, let’s delve into what is accomplished by concealing the importance of discipleship in our churches.
My first bout with depression lasted for 2 years and occurred after I gave birth to my first child (43 years ago). I survived it but that’s all. Having a little one who depended 24/7 on my ability to care for her, prioritized my daily routine. Then two years and 4 months later my 2nd daughter was born. Now the well being of two precious little girls depended on my getting it together. After two more children, a daughter and a son, life demanded that I focus on the needs of my 4 children. However, the darkness of depression continued to stalk me.
During a retreat I attended only recently, I listened as a young mother described her bout with depression. Eventually, she was diagnosed with post partum depression (suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue).
I’m pretty sure that my initial years of depression was an undiagnosed case of post partum. During those first two years, I established a pattern of destructive thinking. My times spent in Scripture were consistent but brief (3 to 5 min). Any help I might have gained from them to combat such thoughts was drowned out by the lies swarming within my brain. My thoughts were ruled by those lies. I remember during those dark days my prayers became nothing more than, “God hold on to me.” I had a sense that those negative thoughts were lies but my weakened spiritual state was no match for their dark power.
Several years ago I reached a turning point when God prompted me to take notice of the thoughts that were so troublesome to me. This prompting resulted in increasing my time spent in prayer and bible study. As my knowledge of God’s Truth increased, the lies within those fiery darts were exposed. Eventually, I began to break free of the chains that for years had held me in bondage.
While I continue to battle fiery dart thinking, it no longer rules my thoughts. My thoughts are becoming saturated with God’s Word. Through prayer and bible study, I am learning to recognize & extinguish the lies of fiery darts. Remember, depression stems from the lies of fiery darts. But depression cannot take root in the soil of God’s Truth.
In looking back on my journey, I have often pondered why it took so many years for me to reach the path that led me out of the darkness of my negative thinking. . .Therefore, my hope is that by sharing the lessons I learned, your journey out of the darkness will not be nearly as lengthy as mine. p 14-15, FD 3rd edition
In conversation with my grandson, after my 3rd edition of Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice was published, he asked me a very pointed question. “So what is a fiery dart?”
If you have wondered this too, read on.
First, while Satan cannot read our minds, he can influence our thoughts. Thus, the Bible instructs us to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph 6:11 NIV)
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, judgment, or selfishness, for example? p 53, 3rd edition
A negative action is often the result of negative thinking. Understandably, if Satan can negatively influence our thinking, then the temptation to act negatively will be hard for us to resist. p 27, 3rd edition
A realistic view of our areas of vulnerability, or weaknesses, in our flesh, or sin nature, is vital for understanding how the Enemy will attack us. While each of us may have different areas of vulnerability, we need to understand that our area of weakness will be the prime target for Satan’s fiery darts. p 29, 3rd edition
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. … 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 44, 3rd edition
If our (Christians) clarity of right and wrong has been diminished by infrequent time in Bible study and prayer then our vulnerability towards Satan’s temptations (fiery darts) is seriously compromised. And those temptations can influence our minds to think negatively.
If we allow ourselves to continue avoiding these two disciplines (bible study and prayer), then, our will is more easily influenced by our flesh and is drawn more to the world. Our attitudes and actions will begin to contradict the choice we made to follow Christ’s example. The weaker we become in our Spirit, the more easily we can be manipulated by Satan’s fiery darts.p 47, 3rd edition
To Wrap it Up
Fiery darts are the temptations of Satan.
Fiery dart thinking is the result of giving into those temptations.
She doesn’t event realize that fiery dart thinking has contributed to her blindness!
Oh how my heart breaks when I see yet another Christian fall victim to Satan’s manipulation via fiery darts. And what disturbs me even more is that these very same Christians, who have been so duped by fiery dart thinking, have unknowingly cooperated with the enemy in allowing him to steal the peace and joy that once existed within their hearts and minds.
I know how it happens though!
Again I must emphasize the necessity to persevere in prayer and Bible study! We must grasp the fact that there is no other substitute. As we fellowship and worship in these two disciplines, everything we experience in life will be filtered through what we learn there. p 76 FD
May I ask you some questions?
Has your desire to faithfully attend church weakened? Are you easily hurt or angered by fellow church members-especially when things don’t go the way you think they should?
Do you find yourself dishonoring those you love by your words and actions? And in that same context, are your needs more important to you than your loved one’s needs? Do you become easily angered by those you love? Do you focus more on their wrong doings than you do your own?
Do you find yourself justifying actions and attitudes that you use to reject as disobedience? Do you feel you are more enlighten now about such things and therefore they are no longer wrong for you?
Do you find pleasing yourself or others trumps pleasing God?
If you answered in the affirmative for any of the above questions, it’s pretty obvious that what you have been filtering your experiences through has not been the Word of God and prayer.
Those who drift away from prayer and Bible study become easy prey to Satan’s anti-Truth thinking. Slowly and subtly his victims become blinded to Truth and the world’s concept of truth begins to sway their thinking.
Eventually, they will become blind to God’s Truth and they won’t even realize it!
By tempting us to spend little time in God’s Word, our ability to recognize the lies of fiery darts is equally diminished if we give in to that temptation. In the place of God’s Truth, the world’s concept of truth begins to define our thinking. p. 23-24, FD
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
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.