Where did That Thought Come From?
By Janet Page
Have you ever had an overwhelming desire for something that wars against your beliefs and values? As if your thoughts and feelings had been hijacked without your permission?
Think about this: “Satan will, if he is unsuspected, give feelings and impressions. These are not safe guides” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 413).
I have personally learned that this is true!
Once I heard a speaker tell about studies that psychologists conducted on male prisoners. First, they gave them all the food they could eat. Then they strategically placed electrodes to stimulate a certain area of their brains. Suddenly, the prisoners wanted to eat again, even though they were stuffed!
The psychologists conducted studies on other behaviors, such as sex and violence. They found that when certain areas of the brain are stimulated, reason is overridden.
The speaker’s point? Satan can strongly influence or override our thoughts and feelings.
One time I had been struggling for a while with thoughts and feelings that I knew were wrong, but I did not realize the thoughts were coming from Satan. I was confused and could not understand why I felt that way. Then one morning while I was drying my hair, overwhelming thoughts and emotions welled up inside me. I threw the dryer on the floor and cried out to God, “If this is Satan, take these thoughts and feelings away!” And suddenly, they were gone! And they’ve never returned.
Satan attacks when least suspected and in unanticipated ways. Some times I make the mistake of allowing my mind to dwell on inappropriate thoughts and feelings. But I am learning that when this happens, I need to stop, take a breath, and pray. I must continually look to God and cry out for help!
“We cannot save ourselves from the tempter’s power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our own strength, we shall become a prey to his devices; but ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.’ Proverbs 18:10. Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name” (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 131).
James 4:7, 8 says, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (NKJV).
For me, this is the path to safety, release, and wonderful joy:
• Spend quality time daily with Jesus.
• Humble myself before Him.
• Ask Him to search my heart because of Jeremiah 17:9.
• Read my Bible, as well as books like The Desire of Ages, or Steps to Christ.
• Pray for His grace, strength, a daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a hunger to love God with all my heart.
• Practice abiding in Jesus all day long.
• Watch and pray to be aware of Satan’s attacks (see Matthew 26:41).
• Praise God for the victory He promises in Philippians 2:13.
• Do acts of loving service or witnessing.
I have learned that I can pray any time, anywhere—whenever temptation comes. I speak God’s Word aloud and praise Him for His promises of victory through Him.
Take heart: “No matter what may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that God gives. The Holy Spirit is our Helper” (Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, p. 139).
Janet Page serves as associate ministerial secretary for pastoral spouses, families, and prayer. This article was originally published in The Journal: A Resource for Ministry Spouses (Vol. 34) Fourth Quarter, 2017. It is being reprinted with permission.