It's a battle against your thoughts. Nowhere does the Bible say to take every demon captive, but as I'm about to show you, the Bible does say, “Take every thought captive.” I'm not saying you shouldn't cast out devils. You should cast out devils, but we cast devils out of demon-possessed people.
If you're born again, you're a “Jesus-possessed” person, not a “demon-possessed” person. You might have ways of behaving that are due to a system of thinking that needs to be taken captive. So when you destroy that system of thinking, your behavior will change.
You cannot change your life by changing your behavior. You change your life by changing how you think. When your thinking lines up with God's thinking, then Satan cannot get in. He's sealed off. He cannot penetrate your life. He will come, and he will try to penetrate.
Remember, he is diabalos. He is going to throw accusations at you until he penetrates and releases his explosive power. But if he can't penetrate because you have your shield of faith up, if he can't penetrate because you have your breastplate of righteousness on, if he can't penetrate because you have your sword of the Spirit out, then he will have no success against you!
Have you ever met someone about whom you thought, “Oh man, they're a Christian, but why do they act that way? Why are they weird? Why are they strange? Why do I not want to get near that person?”
It is because that person carries an attitude and carries a spirit about them that is built by a system of thinking developed in their life. I believe in deliverance, and I believe you can come up and we can pray and we can break the power of certain forces in your life, but you are going to have to change your system of thinking or you're going to be back up in the same prayer line with the same problem.
If you smoke and you come up in the prayer line, we can pray for you to be healed from cancer, but if you keep acting like the Marlboro Man outside of church, then that cancer has plenty of access back into your life. In the same way, we can cast the devil out of you, we can bind the devil, we can pull down the strongholds and bind the principalities, but I'm telling you, if we don't change our system of thinking, then Satan will have the same access back into our lives that he had the first time.
When you were a sinner, Satan owned you. Because he owned you, he infiltrated your life with ways of thinking that were land mines to produce destruction along the course of your life. Once you get born again, he no longer has authority over you, but he still has a system of thinking he has placed inside of your head through this world's system. We need to break down that system of thinking so that it is no longer our way of thinking and, therefore, can no longer do damage.
That's what the Word of God is for—to change our way of thinking. It's to give us a new way of thinking so that we are no longer paving the way for Satan to have access into our lives. Proverbs 23:6-8 says, “Do not eat the bread of him that has an evil eye neither desire his dainty meats. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Eat and drink he says to you but his heart is not with you.” The devil understands this verse.
He cannot do anything to you unless your mind and your flesh cooperate with him. Notice the context in which God is saying, “As a man thinks, so is he.” He's saying that a person can pay you compliments. A person can invite you to dinner. A person can say, “Eat and drink. You're welcome here.” But just because they say that, it does not reveal who they really are. Who they really are is what they're thinking on the inside.
We have been told that we are what we say, but we need to understand something—what we think is who we really are. What we're really thinking on the inside is who we really are. Someone may ask you, “How are you doing?” And you're thinking, “Man, I'm lousy. I feel bad. I don't feel good.” And you say, “Everything is fine.” You may be saying “Everything is fine,” thinking you're making a faith statement. But what I'm telling you is who you really are is made up of what you are thinking inside.
As you think within, that's who you really are. That's why we have to pay closer attention to changing the thoughts we think than changing the words we speak. We can be saying things we don't really believe, and no matter how often we say those things, if we don't really believe them, they are not going to have power. That's why so many Christians are discouraged with the concept of speaking the Word or confessing the Word.
I am an advocate of speaking the Word of God out of our mouths, but I am not an advocate of speaking the Word of God that you don't really believe in your heart. And that's why Romans 10:9 says, “If you believe in your heart and say with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord' then you'll be saved.”
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?