How to Give the Devil a Black Eye

boxing-glove

When something negative happens to us, we have two choices.  We can be angry at God for seemingly not coming through for us; or angry at the devil for afflicting us with the issue in the first place.  The devil should be our choice because we know God is our deliverer regardless of our experience.  We also know from God’s Word that the devil is the author of sickness, poverty, sin, and death.  He is the ultimate enemy.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. (Acts 10:38)

 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:24-26)

We also have two other choices.  We can steam and spit, cry and mourn, wishing the devil had picked on someone else.  Or we can do something that would really count – we can give him a “black eye”!  This is an analogy because the devil is not a physical being, but a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12).  He must be fought and defeated with spiritual weapons and actions that advance the Kingdom of God.

Ultimately, Jesus defeated the devil on the cross; but there are things we can do to put him in his place while we live on the earth.  These actions make the devil nervous, irritated, and ultimately a loser! We can make the devil wish he had never messed with us!

Whether you and I have had tragedy happen to us or not, we can daily wound the devil and his kingdom! The following are some ways we can “give the devil a black eye”!  In a nutshell, it results in being a good disciple of Jesus, pushing the devil’s authority out of our lives.

  1. Live for Jesus – in every area.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

The ultimate way to get the better of the devil is to commit our lives to Jesus – spirit, soul, and body. This means the devil has no authority over us because we now are part of God’s family!  When we are saved, we become a threat to the kingdom of darkness, rather than a pawn the devil can control.  Nothing is more aggravating to him!

  1. Advance the Kingdom of God.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18

Advancing the Kingdom of God means dismantling the devil’s kingdom piece by piece.  The more we reach out and proclaim the Gospel, the less impact the devil has on the world.  We can promote the Gospel by giving and serving in missions, praying for people, and witnessing to the lost.  Ministering to our church body also imparts strength to God’s Kingdom.  The stronger the Church, the weaker the devil!

  1. Walk in love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Jesus is love; the devil is not.  The devil winces every time we show love, especially when the person is undeserving and we don’t feel like showing it.  Since Jesus has called us to be like Him, our choice to reflect His love is an expression of our submission to His Lordship. Yet another wound to the devil’s plans!

  1. Live by faith.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. I Corinthians 5:7

Everything about salvation is based on faith.  We live according to what the Word of God says, not by what we feel or see.  When we choose not to be moved by our senses or what others say, we are putting a stop to the devil’s ability to move in our lives.  He wants us to doubt God’s Word; but a heart of faith, trusting in God alone, stops his ability to steal from us and ours!

  1. Use our authority.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

The devil delights in pestering anyone who doesn’t know their authority over him.  However, he doesn’t stand a chance against someone who knows how to implement the Name of Jesus and the Sword of the Spirit (Mark 16:15-18; Ephesians 6:10-18)!  He has no choice but to flee!

  1. Praise and worship.

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Depression, anxiety, and fear are all are a part of the “spirit of heaviness,” sent by the devil to distract and oppress us. They render us weak, unable to fulfill our calling.  God’s remedy, however, is “the garment of praise.”   The devil can’t live in an atmosphere of worship because God “inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3).  It greatly aggravates Him when God is glorified, especially when He’s glorified from our lips!

  1. Never give up!

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8

We are called to persevere, fighting to the very end as we pursue hearing Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 23:25) While God delights in never giving up, the devil delights in quitting.  It means he has won when we throw in the towel.  It’s frustrating to him, however, when he comes face to face with someone who will not stop!  It’s a sure sign of his demise!

The greatest glory in harming the devil’s kingdom is the ultimate result of glorifying Jesus that much more!  It always comes back to Jesus – He is the victor and we live our victory through Him!

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our  faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:4)

 

 

It’s All in Your Head

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God has given us an amazing body.  In fact, we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27), perfect and complete.  However, when Adam and Eve sinned, sin entered the world and our body was made subject to evil.  That evil impacts our lives every day through sickness, temptation, sin, calamity, and wrong thinking.

Thankfully, Christ has redeemed us from the curse that came into the world (Galatians 3:13).  Praise God!  If we’ve made Jesus our Lord and Savior, we don’t have to live a life dominated by the result of the curse.  We can live victoriously over sin, sickness, and all the other evil things the devil may try to inflict on us.

Before we were saved, we had a spirit that was not alive to God (Ephesians 2:1).  We did not have God’s nature on the inside of us, and were bound by our fleshly lusts (Ephesians 4:20-22).  However, when we were born again, God put His perfect nature on the inside of us.  From that point on, we have to “put off” the old man that once dominated our lives.

That same “old man” likes to rise up and control our minds with negative, ugly thoughts.  Those thoughts may come in the form of lustful imaginations, anxiety, fear, hate, evil plots, frustrations with people, etc.  All of these ugly thoughts come from the author of that “old man,” the devil.  Because the devil hates all of God’s good creation, he will try to throw such “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16) at us on a regular basis.

Jesus also gave us His mind when we were born again.  Unfortunately, that carnal mind didn’t immediately disappear.  It can reappear at any time . . . if we will let it.  We are then faced with a choice.  Are we going to coddle those thoughts, thinking them over and over again?  Or are we going to snuff them out with our shield of faith, choosing God’s mind over the carnal mind?

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  (I Corinthians 2:16)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (Romans 8:5-7)

The Science of It All

Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian neuroscientist, has done extensive research on how our brains – and our lives – are influenced by our thoughts.  She has discovered that our mind actually controls our brain, rather than our brain controls our mind, as most of us think.

Though the machines these scientists use do not read thoughts (also referred to as memory), they do read what the thoughts do to our brain.  Every time we have a thought, that thought shows up in our brain as an image of a tree with many branches.  The more we think, the more branches we create. Good thoughts create healthy “trees” that flourish in our brains.  However, bad, negative thoughts show up in the form of “briers,” filling up the brain space with negativity.

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Good, positive thoughts, especially those based on the Word of God, obviously are based on a choice to think like the mind of Christ.  These healthy thoughts are thoughts of joy, peace, generosity, love, mercy, etc.  On the other hand, toxic thoughts fall into the carnal mind category.  A carnal mind feasts on anger, resentment, frustration, bitterness, rejection, fear, and so on.

Like Proverbs 23:7 says, we are what we think.  Every time we think a thought, our bodies are impacted.  Doctors know that someone with a positive outlook is far more likely to recover from an illness than someone who has a negative view.  When we think negative, toxic thoughts, we are sending chemical signals to our bodies to bring harm.  It generally shows up in the form of sickness and disease.

Renewing Your Mind

All of us have had opportunities to submit ourselves to a carnal thought.  In fact, if we had the ability to look at a movie of every thought we had in life, I’m sure we’d find an embarrassing number of negative ones.  If a scientist were to take a look at our brains, we would probably see a mass of “briers” taking up our brain space.

According to Dr. Leaf, there is hope for us!  Scientists have also discovered that a toxic thought can be reversed within four days, changing the way our brain functions.  What was once inflamed and damaged with negativity can be restored to health – and our bodies and lives with it.

This can be backed up by God’s command for us to “renew” (renovate) our minds to His Word:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

and be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . (Ephesians 4:23)

God knew what He was talking about when He gave us these instructions.  It wasn’t to control us or make our lives more difficult.  He knew that negative, ugly thoughts would not draw us closer to Him, nor would it benefit our lives and bodies.  It would, in fact, destroy us.

What to Think

The only way we can restore those “briers” to healthy “trees” is by thinking positive thoughts – God’s Word.  It first begins with a decision to “put off” the old man (Ephesians 4:22), “gird up” the loins of our minds (I Peter 1:13), and “bring every thought into captivity” to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3).  Each time we are tempted to meditate on a particular negative thought, we must decide to immediately replace it with a God-thought.

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)

Following God’s guideline for our thought life does not include negativity!  If we compared each thought of our day to one of the thoughts listed above, would we find them lining up with His standard?  It takes work, but it is possible!

The result, of course, of applying God’s Word to our minds is only good.  It includes a peace that “surpasses all understanding” as a guard to our minds.  What follows is a peaceful lifestyle, a healthy body, and the ability to make wise and sound decisions.  The devil then has less of an opportunity to inflict the curse of the law on our lives as we consistently snuff out his fiery darts of negativity.  No room can be found for his carnal thoughts as the space in our brains is being filled with Christ-thoughts!

Love Him with Your Mind

Renewing our mind is not simply an act of self-preservation, however.  It has everything to do with living the life of a true disciple of Jesus. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our desire should be to obey and honor Him in every area of our lives.  It’s a decision to follow His lead and forsake the sinful, negative thoughts that would try to destroy and dishonor our relationship with Him.  Our greatest motivation for that obedience, of course, should be because we love Him.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:37)

Like the rest of our bodies, our minds were made to love Him . . . and not just part of them.  All of our minds were designed to function in such a way that would bring Him joy.  Every time we cast down a “toxic” imagination, we are showing our love for Him and His Word.  Each negative thought that is replaced with His thought is proof that loving Him is more important to us than hanging on to a mind contaminated with the lusts of our flesh.  Once again, we are saying with love, “Jesus, be the Lord of all of me.”

 

Further Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVBATU-yFoQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5VJ8UhP_lg

http://drleaf.com/