When our Minds Play Tricks on Us

Psalms 56:1-4 ESV

“Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?”

Satan (the devil) is the arch enemy of Jesus Christ, and of his gospel, and of all who follow Jesus Christ with their lives, in truth. He is like a roaring lion who prowls about seeking someone to devour. And so we need to be alert and serious-minded so that we can pray, and so that we do not get caught in his traps. And we are to resist him, standing firm in the faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by our fellow believers in Jesus Christ throughout the world (see 1 Peter 5:8-10).

Sometimes the devil will attack us in our emotions, or in our minds, or in our bodies, or via our circumstances to try to get us to fail and to worry or to give up and to quit. And we don’t always know in advance that these hits are coming, and so they can catch us off guard if we are not armored up and ready to fight him back. But sometimes (or often) he will use other humans to attack us and to oppose us or to do other evil against us, even to plot evil against us, and so we need to be prepared for those things to happen, too.

Now this is something I have dealt with, at times, so I am speaking from my own experience here. Since Satan is fighting us in our minds, and so he lies to us, it is possible that sometimes we may see people as doing evil against us when they aren’t doing evil. And so my practice has been that if I have no direct knowledge of evil being done against me that I am to dismiss those thoughts in my mind. So this calls for much prayer and discernment so that we do not run in our minds with things that may not be true.

But now if some people come right out and tell you that they don’t like you and that they don’t want you in their lives, then that is a clear sign they are against you and not for you. Or if they tell you that they were warned about people like you, people with strong convictions, that they are to get rid of you, and so they offer to help you find someplace where you will be a “better fit,” well then that is obvious that they don’t like you and that they are rejecting you. So you can surely count that as rejection.

So I am just saying here, speaking from my own experiences, that we have to differentiate in our minds the difference between truth and lies, for one of the biggest ways the enemy comes against us is with lies. And he wants us to be fearful, and he wants us to think badly of those who are not our true enemies, and he wants us to think people are against us who are not against us. But even if what we are feeling in our emotions is the truth, we cannot regard it as truth until there is solid evidence that what we feel is the truth.

But if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and if our consciences are clear that what we are doing is in accord with God’s word, and that it is of God and not of our own flesh, then when humans trample on our hearts in ways that are obvious because we have solid evidence of such attacks against us, and that this is not just Satan playing tricks on our minds, then we can say with confidence and in truth that we are indeed being attacked. But then we need to not let fear overtake us, but we need to trust the Lord.

Psalms 56:5-7 ESV

“All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!”

We may be among those who are being literally attacked by other humans on a daily basis, which some Christians in the world are definitely in those types of situations. And the attacks may not always be in violent ways, but they can be in people knowingly sinning against us on a daily basis, or in making cutting remarks to us which we know are intended because this is something that is consistent, and a pattern has been formed here and so this is not conjecture, although we always have to check our own hearts.

So, again, we have to be so careful here that we don’t create these scenarios in our own minds when that is where these situations are, just in our minds, but not in truth. For we have to know that Satan is going to lie to us and he is going to try to make us fearful, and he wants us to falsely accuse people of what they did not do, and he wants us estranged from people who we should not be estranged from. So unless we have hard evidence that people are against us, then we need to not go with that.

But, granted, if we are following Jesus with our lives, in truth, and if we are doing and saying the kinds of things he did and said, we are going to have enemies. And we will have people who will make it their goal to injure our cause, which is the cause of Christ. For Jesus said it would be so, and the reality will be there to give evidence of its truth when we do have people turn against us when we are truly following the Lord in truth and in righteous living. But even there we are to love our enemies, in return.

Psalms 56:8-11 ESV

“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”

In all of this that I am sharing here with you today the theme here is to make sure that you are really being attacked by other people and that this is not your imagination going wild. So much damage can be done to our own lives and to our relationships with other people if we allow Satan’s whisperings in our ears to become our reality when it is not a reality. And I am certainly not saying that your suffering is not a reality for I don’t know you and that is not my place to judge you in this matter.

It is just that the Lord will sometimes have me look at subjects from different angles because these different angles do exist. But when our suffering is real, and when we truly are being sinned against, and we are being attacked by true enemies, the encouragement is what this says here. Our Lord knows the truth, even if other humans don’t, and he cares about our sufferings and the tears we have cried, and so we never have cause to fear our enemies or what they may do against us.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

‘Til The Storm Passes By

By Thomas Mosie Lister

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Many times Satan whispered
There is no use to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

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