Is doubt a nebulous feeling that springs from lack of confidence? Sometimes. But, often what we call doubt is really spiritual warfare.
What feels like paralyzing indecision may be a taunt from the enemy. Jesus called the devil a liar (John 8:44). This thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He also is a slanderer, accuser of Christians (Revelation 12:10b), and blasphemer of God. The better we know Jesus, the better we’re able to identify Satan’s influence.
The devil tries to steer our thoughts. Wanting to provoke God’s anger, he planted the thought in King David’s mind to take a census of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1-3). He also gave Ananias and Sapphira the idea to lie about a gift they gave to the church (Acts 5:3-5). Do you think these people would have cooperated if they’d recognized the maleficence behind their ideas?
I’ve received emails from friends asking me to send cash to help them because they lost their passports. Even though the emails came from my friends’ accounts, the messages didn’t sound like them. I recognized the hoax because I knew my friends. The better we know someone the less likely we are to be taken in by fraud.
Here are some ways to recognize our enemy’s darts.
Destructive: sent to rob and destroy. Their purpose is to keep us away from God’s good and satisfying will. Darts either push us toward something we feel uneasy about or away from something good. Listen to the messages, and you’ll identify their source.
Accusing: condemning, criticizing, and blaming. They tell us how selfish and rebellious we are to want something or how cowardly we are not to do something. “If you weren’t so selfish, fearful, or unforgiving you’d…” Remember, the devil misused Scripture when tempting Jesus. If a verse oppresses you, the enemy is twisting it against you.
Rule-oriented: relying on standards for righteousness instead of Jesus’ imputed righteousness. These thoughts point out how we must obey the bullying command or we’ll be less—of a Christian, loving, capable, or valuable. For example: “People will think you’re uncaring if you don’t…” “You’ll look like a rebel if you…”
Tempting: offering ways to meet your needs apart from God. “Your child will know how much you support him if…” “People will see how spiritual you are if…” “Hurry, or you’ll miss out.”
Slanderous: maligning the character of God, other people, or yourself. “God doesn’t care about this decision.” “You’re being stubborn.” (To learn more about Satan’s DARTS click here.)
Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Do you know your Shepherd’s voice? In contrast to the enemy:
- Jesus’ words bring life and peace.
- He never uses guilt, unhealthy fear, or bullying to motivate us.
- He reminds us that our righteousness is found in Christ, not in our performance. We have nothing to prove with Him. He never shames us.
- He infuses us with courage to stand alone, to wait, to be still and know.
- He reminds us that He is for us, with us, interceding, leading, and guiding. He is worthy of our complete trust.
Next time you’re faced with confusion, ask yourself, “Is this a legitimate doubt or a diabolical dart?” Then follow your Shepherd with confidence.
Give Yourself a Break will help you better recognize and resist spiritual DARTS.
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Debbie W. Wilson