Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17
“Right now, at this time, nothing bad is happening.” Judith Benton
- Gather your Bible, prayer journal, and something warm to drink. Ask God to speak to you during this precious, intimate time with him.
- Read Ephesians 6:10-20. Write Ephesians 6:16 in your journal.
***A note from Deb. Today’s study was written by my dear friend, Faith, who I have always said has “lived up to her name.” I watched my amazing sister walk by faith through incredibly difficult circumstances, all the while clinging to the One who still calms the wind and the waves. This is her story of faith, (Hebrews 10:38) and also an amazing example of overcoming destructive thoughts.
Overcoming Destructive Thoughts
Have you ever had to wait to hear the results of a medical test? Have you ever had to wait for the results of a medical test about your child?
Many people can relate to this frightening experience and the sheer panic that sets in when Satan attacks your thoughts. He knows when you are most vulnerable – when you are tired, fearful, faced with the unknown…this is what happened to me when I experienced a full blown panic attack, brought on by the deepest fear I have ever known.
I was in the grocery store with my mom and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe – I had to get out of the store as fast as I could. I said a few words to my mom and bolted for the door. The more I struggled with breathing, the more Satan took control of my thoughts and body.
Two days before this episode our family received devastating news that my seemingly healthy, happy 17-year-old, Shane, had a very rare form of cancer. What we did know was that this tumor had been slowly growing in his neck for years. The doctors had misdiagnosed this tumor as “just a swollen lymph node…nothing to be concerned about.” The next day Shane underwent a scan to determine if the cancer had spread to his lungs or liver…this was on a Friday…no results until Monday.
Saturday was my panic attack. Satan was telling me… “you know this cancer has been in his body a long time, chances are that it spread”…”I’m going to steal his peace, kill his joy, and destroy his life”…”your child is going to suffer”…”you can’t do anything about this”…on and on… In the grocery store, at the most unexpected time, Satan attacked.
My mom came out to the car as fast as she could…I thought I was really going to die.
Now the advice I’m going to share with you, that got me through this panic attack and countless other times since, are words that my mother said to me and words that most people have to pay hundreds of dollars for during a therapy session with my mom. “Faith, be in the moment. Right now, at this time, nothing bad is happening.” So simple!
Satan wants us to think about our past experiences that aren’t so great, he wants us to worry about our future, and he delights in himself when we put all these things together to come up with the worst possible conclusions.
God wants us to know that right now nothing bad is happening…right now He has control of our thoughts, not Satan. He will protect us from Satan…call on Him.
“…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16)
God is so good to give us the shield of faith. When we choose to put our faith in God and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5) instead of panic and fear, it disarms Satan, and he no longer has power over us. When we choose to rest in God and remember to “cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us,” (1 Peter 5:7) we are choosing to have peace, the true peace that comes from trusting God.
The cancer didn’t spread throughout his whole body. We praise God every day that after successful treatment, Shane has been cancer free for four years!
Jesus says that we will have trials. I choose to pray mighty prayers and to remind myself that “Right now, at this time, nothing bad is happening.”
Questions to Ponder Write the answers to these questions in your journal. (Be honest with yourself, confronting thoughts from the evil one can be very painful).
- What thoughts are you struggling with? (i.e. The disease will take over my body, my health is not good, I am not a good mother, daughter, sister, wife…I am not good enough to hear God, I am not smart enough, I do so many things wrong, I can’t handle anything).
- When do you have these thoughts? You can be ready with the shield of faith when you are most vulnerable. Is it when you are tired, hungry, lacking quiet time, distracted?
- What is God saying to you? Ask God to take care of all these “flaming arrows” that are coming your way. If Satan is telling you that you are not good enough – God is telling you that you are perfect. He made you perfect!
- This week, be intentional about taking each destructive thought captive to Jesus when they first enter your mind. Can you imagine how much stress you will overcome if you can release these right away and let God handle the evil one?
- After you have released the thought, replace it with truth from the Bible such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
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