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Another manifestation of the “wiles of the devil” is evil thoughts. Have you ever been in prayer and had your mind suddenly assaulted by blasphemous thoughts? Have you ever been worshipping and had pornographic images flash across your mind? Have you ever gone through a period of time in which your mind was consumed with deplorable thoughts—thoughts that sickened and oppressed you, thoughts that you longed to be delivered from, thoughts of sexual immorality, murder, or suicide? If so, you are not alone. You know firsthand what the apostle Paul was referring to when he spoke of the “fiery darts” or more literally “the flaming arrows” of the wicked one.

An important question to ask at this point is: How can I tell the difference between the flaming arrows of the wicked one and the sin of evil surmising? Evil surmising originates from within, as Jesus said, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts” (Matthew 15:19). Evil surmising is within your power to control and has an element of delight in it. The flaming arrows of the wicked one, on the other hand, come from outside of you and are, to a certain degree, beyond your power to control. They are also offensive to you. You not only do not want to think these thoughts, you consciously reject them.

Another experience from the life of Charles Spurgeon serves as an illustration. Having gone through a prolonged period of blasphemous assaults upon his mind and being near the point of despair, he began questioning even his salvation (after all, how could a true Christian think such thoughts?). He finally confided in an aged godly man who asked him one simple question: “Do you hate these thoughts?” Young Spurgeon replied: “I do.” The man replied, “Then they are not yours; … Groan over them, repent of them, and send them on to the devil, the father of them, to whom they belong—for they are not yours.”

The devil is subtle; he plants a thought in your mind and wants to make you think it’s your thought. But don’t own it; instead reject it and realize who is behind it. You can even turn the enemy’s weapons back upon him by using those occasions as an opportunity for prayer and worship. You can be like Benaiah who wrested the spear out of the enemy’s hand, and killed him with his own spear (2 Samuel 23:21). 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

As nature abhors a vacuum, so our minds cannot long remain empty. Good thoughts leave no room for bad thoughts.


Depression is perhaps the most devastating of the “wiles of the devil” inasmuch as the devil gathers up all of the things we’ve discussed (condemnation, doubt, fear, evil thoughts and imaginations), wraps them in despair, and leaves us with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

Many of God’s people throughout the ages have known firsthand what it is to be depressed. You might be surprised to find that both the psalmist and the apostle Paul experienced depression. Listen to their words:

In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Psalm 77:2–4

We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 2 Corinthians 1:8b

Church history provides many examples as well of those who have suffered from depression. William Cowper, the great English poet and hymn writer, battled manic-depression throughout his life.

Charles Spurgeon said, “I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.”

So we see that God’s people are not exempt from depression. Everyone suffers from depression from time to time, some more frequently and more severely than others. The question then is, how do we deal with depression?

First, we need to know what is causing it. There are basically four types of depression. There is depression that is organic in nature (resulting from a bodily malfunction, i.e., hormonal or chemical imbalances). Then there is circumstantial depression; the problems of life have gotten you down. Some depression is directly related to sin. And finally, there is depression that is the direct result of satanic activity.

Determining what type of depression a person is dealing with is not always easy. However, God has promised wisdom for those who ask (James 1:5).

Once we discern the cause, we can proceed with the treatment. If the cause is organic, the treatment will be primarily medical. If the cause is circumstantial, the treatment will be getting a biblical perspective on your circumstances and trusting God. If the cause is sin, repentance is necessary. If the cause is satanic, the spiritual weapons of the Word of God and prayer are the only things that will avail.

Back in the days before there were anti-depressants, William Cowper was prayed out of a deep, dark, suicidal depression by his faithful friend and pastor, John Newton. Although treatment with medications can be beneficial, these treatments should never be used to the exclusion of the Word of God and prayer. It is my opinion that regardless of the root cause of depression, there is a satanic aspect to it. Therefore, I believe that all depression, regardless of its source, should be treated through biblical counseling and intense prayer. 

If you have been plagued by depression, remember, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Don’t believe the devil’s lie that your situation is hopeless so you might as well just end it all now. Look to the Lord! Call upon His Name! Stand upon His Word! Pray, and ask others to pray for you. Seek godly counsel from a pastor or a mature Christian friend. Finally, know that “the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).

In the next blog, we will consider one final aspect of the devil’s war against us—Temptation

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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