I used to have a real problem with self-pity. Every time the devil would throw a pity party, I would attend. I remember when God began to deal with me about this…
We had come home from a weekend conference where I had spoken Thursday, Friday and Saturday in four sessions. On Sunday, my husband, Dave, wanted to play golf. It made me mad that he wanted to leave me and not just stay home and dote over me. After all, I had just spent three days working hard, giving all I had to minister to other people. I thought, What about me? I've worked hard all weekend and nobody's doing anything for me. Everybody just takes everything I've got. Nobody really cares about me…
It was pitiful! I felt so sorry for myself. But God got my attention and spoke to my heart, saying, "Joyce, you can't be pitiful and powerful at the same time. You are going to have to stop sitting around, feeling sorry for yourself every time you don't get what you want." This really opened my eyes to how I was letting my thoughts, which were not even true, make me miserable.
How Your Thoughts Determine Your Life
One way to understand what's going on in your life is to take an inventory of your thoughts. What are you thinking about? When you consider this, you'll find there's a strong connection between your thoughts and your life. And you don't have to just think about whatever happens to come into your mind.
Until I understood this, wrong thoughts often caused me problems. For example, years ago there used to be times when I would wake up in the morning and one of the first thoughts I'd have was, I'm depressed. At the time, I just took it. And because I didn't resist this thought, I would feel depressed.
Second Corinthians 10:3-5 explains that we are in a spiritual war, and the weapons of our warfare are spiritual, not natural. The devil wants to put wrong thoughts into our mind so we won't experience the peace and joy that God offers us through Jesus Christ. Now, we can't physically tie up the devil, put him in jail, or just kill him. But we can resist him and choose right, godly thoughts if we use the spiritual weapon we have – God's Word.
The Way to Win the War
If you want to be a victorious Christian, you will have to invest time learning the Word of God. When you know what it says, you will be able to refute the lies the enemy puts in your mind with the truth of the Bible. Jesus says in John 8:31,32 that if we will abide in His word, we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free.
When you are struggling with thoughts of guilt and condemnation, remember that God's Word says you are made right with God through the blood of Jesus and your sins are forgiven when you confess them and sincerely repent of them. Or when you find yourself thinking, I can't eat cookies. If I eat one, I'll have to eat twelve! remember that you have the Spirit of God living in you and you have self-control. You don't have to overeat. And like I learned, you don't have to waste your time feeling sorry for yourself.
You may be discouraged thinking you'll never be able to stop smoking, beat an addiction, get healthy, have a good marriage or be financially stable. These are all lies the enemy wants you to live with. And if you choose to believe them, then even though they aren't true according to what God says about who you are in Christ, they will become your reality.
We need to stop letting the devil use our mind as a garbage dump and start choosing our thoughts carefully. Read God's Word daily. Take time to praise the Lord, and focus on being thankful throughout your day. As you fill your mind with right thoughts, the devil won't be able to fill it with wrong ones.