Can sinful thoughts come from Satan, not from ourselves? Is it possible for him to put thoughts in our minds — thoughts that we do not want to think?
The answer is no. Satan can mess with us on the outside, but he cannot enter into us internally in any way. A blood-bought, forgiven by Jesus, Holy Spirit-indwelt Christian, is sealed unto God — and that means protection of the temple (the body and mind) in which the child of God dwells.
That said, Satan is able to tempt us with things — to put them before our eyes and within our hearing — and those things can cause us to think bad thoughts. But even then, he does not have ultimate power over us. When it comes to our “thought life,” we always have a free-will choice. And, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us to help us overcome any temptation, from Satan, the world, or others.
The Good “Thought-Giver”
While Satan cannot put thoughts into our minds, there is one who can. He is God. And through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit, He is able to convict and teach us, and influence what we think, from within. You may have heard someone say, “God spoke to me.” In reality, they are “hearing with their hearts” a prompting from God. By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, God opens the heart, stirs the soul, and stimulates the mind of His children, to do His will. But again, His children have a free will to choose to follow God’s promptings or to neglect or reject them.
When we remember that all God does is according to His loving lordship and His perfect purposes, we should always choose to follow what God puts in our hearts and minds. But how can we know if our thoughts are from God? Test them against Scripture to know that they are so (Acts 17:11).
Making the Right Choice
Whenever a bad thought begins to enter our minds, we must choose to quickly extinguish the thought. We do that by turning our thoughts away from the bad and by thinking on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report…” (Phil 4:8). Once we “shove aside” the bad thought, if we don’t replace it with good thoughts, we “leave the door open” for the bad thought to “re-enter.”
Take action before bad thoughts enter your mind and they must be extinguished and replaced with good thoughts. Fill your mind with good thoughts to where it is overflowing and without room to entertain the bad. We do this by renewing our minds every day by the power of God’s Word (Ro 12:2), by remembering the Lord’s promises and His faithfulness (Deu 8:18, 1 Sam 12:24, 1 John 4:9, 16), and by spending time with God in prayer (Jer 29:13, Luke 11:9-10, Acts 17:27). That helps keep our minds focused on Jesus (Heb 12:2).
With our minds renewed daily in God’s Word and strengthened by His truths and presence, and by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us, we are able to conquer any temptation that Satan puts before us and also control any fleshly desires the world might offer.
Promises About the Mind
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Matt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Prov 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Ro 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
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The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2020
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