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
I’ve come to realize that crying out to God concerning my problems is not all there is!
Pouring out our hearts to God does offer some relief from the burdens we carry. But, if we walk away after depositing our load at Jesus’s feet, then we have left prematurely! And I wonder if it’s not too long before we find ourselves carrying that very same burden again, finding it just as heavy as it was before.
Ever been there? Then join the club!
For most of my Christian life, unloading my burdens in prayer was a faithful ritual. The temptation (or fiery dart) of that was in thinking that was all that was required of me. My real problem was I had been doing a lot of talking, but very little listening.
If I could put into words, here is what I sensed my LORD was saying to me:
You pour your heart out to me, pretty consistently! That is good! And I listen to you, but I can’t say that you listen to Me. I want to help you with your problems, but you will have to do less talking and more listening for that to happen.
You see I was going to the Source for the answers to my problems but as soon as I got through unloading them on God, I’d say Amen, then go on my way. I would ask God for His help, but I wouldn’t hang around long enough to find out how He planned on helping me!
You know what? I didn’t really know how to listen to God. Which meant I didn’t know how to let God help me.
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.
Recently, I came across an article written by “the pioneer woman’s husband” (wow, the cool thing is that with this little bit of info most of my readers will know who I am talking about) God bless ’em!
. . . cedars look like harmless little trees. But left unchecked, those little trees will eventually produce thousands of seeds and spread across the property like wildfire. As they get bigger and more populous, they will eventually shade out the grassland and crowd out the better varieties of trees. I’ve seen many pastures where cedars have completely taken over an area, reducing the grazing capacity by seventy to eighty percent.
For those of you have read my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, perhaps you thought, like I did when I read Mr. Drummond’s article, “umm, that sounds rather familiar.” I knew immediately where to look for that familiar thought and found it on page 25 of my book.
Perhaps we have taken more seriously the larger weapons of temptation: “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19, HCSB) What’s going on in our heads, the thoughts we have though not necessarily evil, aren’t taken as seriously as these larger temptations. For example, the confusion that keeps us from taking a step of faith would not be thought of as a serious temptation when compared to something like the temptation of sexual immorality. So it’s pretty clear why the subtlety of a fiery dart is such an effective weapon. For those initial thoughts, while not as alarming as something like sexual immorality, if left unchecked can lead to gross sin. p. 25, FD
I am a visual learner and in reading Mr. Drummond’s description of the destructive power of seemingly harmless looking cedar tree seedlings, I got a high definition picture of why we should take negative thinking (fiery darts) more seriously.
I have discovered in living life and in writing my book, that seemingly harmless negative thoughts (fiery darts), if left unchecked, will eventually produce an ever growing crop of lies. As they become more populous those fiery darts will begin to crowd out God’s Truths, and our ability to distinguish between the lies of fiery darts and God’s Truths will be severely diminished.
There is a two-fold plan to prevent this from happening:
I read of so much pain, depression, struggles with peace of mind, unhappiness, misplaced priorities, lack of purpose, following after the world, and the list goes on. But it all comes down to being in bondage to negative thinking.
There is a way to break free, my dear readers. The key to unlock this bondage is found through prayer and in God’s Word. My book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, reveals the plan.