My mind forgets where I originally heard it, but I was reminded again on Saturday as I read It’s Not Supposed to be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst, that the devil cannot read my thoughts. Our enemy cannot hear the inner conversations that we have with ourselves and God, but merely thrives on what we say and how we live our lives. He doesn’t have to know how we feel about Susan at work who constantly finds new ways to irritate us, if we go out of our way to avoid her and make no attempts to show the love of God to her. No, he doesn’t need to hear me say that this diet thing is not for me when he can see me overindulging in Oreos and french fries. From my actions alone he is able to reach into his tired, but effective, bag of tricks and lead me down a path of tempting sin and certain destruction.
He does not know my thoughts.
But he does see my actions.
I’ll be very honest with you- I have no clue where this post will go. I finished reading that book by Lysa on Saturday and immediately after I pulled out my Chromebook. I had a burning desire to write but only had one phrase: he does not know my thoughts. I do not know where God intends to lead this message but to you I offer the advice that I am about to take for myself:
Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Maybe it’s the way that I am sitting… or maybe it’s the way I’ve been eating… but as I sit on my couch to type, I have a widening pouch sitting in front of me. April’s stresses led to May’s heavy ambition at fitness and a healthy lifestyle. But then a health scare benched my aerobic activity while driving me to an overindulgence in, well, oreos and french fries. Both are vegan, I might add. While I sought both for comfort from the stress of my life, they both introduced more woes into my life that I did not want. Oreos have gluten and I should not. French fries are carb-loaded and I should not be. I felt the pain of my poor decision- the one that I knew would come- but I still chose to consume what I knew was bad for me.
And then as I sat, still staring at my food pouch, I had to admit that I did that same thing in many areas of my life.
I constantly engage in things that I know will yield undesired results.
Avoiding or eye-rolling that person who has hurt me.
Walking past that piece of trash on the floor or dirty dish in the sink.
Ignoring the Spirit’s gentle tug on my heart to reach out to a person.
Yes, I realize that those all seem very minor by themselves, but the truth is, they all represent things that God explicitly tells us to do.
God wants us to forgive others.
God wants us to live as one body, working towards one greater purpose.
God wants us to yield to the Holy Spirit’s calling.
God wants us to be obedient.
It is in our obedience that He is glorified and we are able to see Him moving abundantly.
I know this. My heart knows this. Yet I still do what I want to do. Even though I limit my smart-aleck responses to these situations to the thoughts in my head, Satan- who is constantly lurking and waiting to jump into my life like the double-dutch champion that he is- sees my actions and takes my refusal to be Christ-like as an invitation to be swayed by temptation. And I don’t know about you, but I fall for it- hook, line, and sinker- every time. So the question I ask myself today is this: how do I continue to fall into the traps of someone who does not know my thoughts… or my heart?
There is much to be said about serving and loving a God who knows your heart. Unlike our enemy, God hears the words that we don’t speak and He knows the deepest depths of our souls. He knows us better than we know ourselves and, though He knows what we think, He still wishes to engage in conversation with us… daily. That fact still amazes me. God hears my ADD-ridden thoughts, the thoughts that bounce from here to there in .005 seconds, yet He still wants to talk to me. He still wants to hear the words that are on my heart and wants me to grow my relationship with Him. He knows how I feel about that Susan-lady at work and my disdain for cleaning up behind others. He knows my faults and failures, yet chooses only to see my needs. He knows my sins but calls me by my name. He knows all yet does not try to bogard His way into my life, choosing instead to sit and wait to be invited in. He does know my thoughts, yet He loves me just the same.
What a loving God He is.
God does know my thoughts and He sees my actions… and I know that there are frequent moments when He is not pleased. I can only imagine how He must want to avert His eyes when I give in to the very temptation that He has worked so hard to help me avoid. It must be like that mother in the grocery store who tells her child to stop playing with the paper towel display- especially that roll at the very bottom- yet Little Johnny just won’t listen. I can imagine God wants to turn His head in embarrassment as I play just a little too much and that towel tower comes crashing down all around me. Yeah, that’s pretty much how my life goes. But unlike Little Johnny’s mother, who is probably profusely apologizing to the store clerks while simultaneously giving him a look that says “wait till we get home,” God helps me rebuild after the towers of my life crumble and fall as a result of my actions.
What a gracious Father He is.
How can a God Who knows my thoughts, sees my actions, and knows what I’ll do before I do it still choose to love me? Because I am His. He created me and He loves me unconditionally. And it is because I am His that He goes so hard to ensure that I walk with Him and not with the world.
Borrowing a page from Lysa TerKeurst, Satan merely achieves his mischief through temptation, deception, and accusation.* He doesn’t need to hear our thoughts to know what we like and dislike; our actions speak louder than our words. And it is through our actions that He is able to determine the best way to lure us from the safety that is found in the arms of Jesus. He’s heard you tell everyone that you are trying to walk in the way of Christ, so he sends [insert your biggest temptation here], just hoping that you will take the bait. Once he lures us with temptation, he assures us that what we are doing is ok. “You’ve had a hard day, you deserve this reward. Go ‘head, indulge and enjoy!” And then once we indulge, once we have sinned, he stops “romancing” us and lays the guilt trip on us: “Mmhmm, you’ve really messed up now. Definitely no coming back from that! Might as well just keep on going!”
Satan may not know our thoughts, but he knows our name and chooses to identify us by our sins.
LIke I said when I started this post, I honestly have no clue where it is going or would go. All I knew was that God had given me time and opportunity to write so I trusted Him and started typing. But at almost 1400 words later I must say this: I have learned the power that my spoken words have over my life.
If you read my last couple posts, you know that May has been a month of health awareness… because of health scares. One moment I remember vividly is when I was lying on the floor of my foyer on May 9th. My mother was kneeling over me on the phone with a 9-1-1 operative and I was clinching the Bible that I had requested. My cell phone was near me and I could hear my pastor speaking to me. He had just finished praying and told me to call on the name of Jesus as I waited for the paramedics to arrive. I didn’t know why I had passed out and I couldn’t move for fear of messing up some necessary part of my body. So I laid on the floor, crying, clutching my bible, and calling on the name of Jesus.
Demons flee at the name of Jesus.
Salvation is found in the name of Jesus.
What a beautiful and wonderful name.
In that moment I did not want the enemy to have to guess. I did not want him to have to wonder Who was in control of the situation. I did not want him to have any questions about Whose Truth I was choosing to believe. I did not want him to think that He had victory over me or any area of my life. So I, with confidence and clarity, told him Who was in control. Jesus. I spoke the name of the Man Who was holding my hand and my heart. I had to verbally say the name of the Man with Whom I had just had a conversation in the shower. I spoke aloud the words of my heart and continued to trust Him for my healing.
Beloved, wherever you are in your walk you are beyond the point of simply thinking away the devil and his schemes. You are now at the point where you must boldly speak words of liberty. There is much truth in the line, “Don’t tell God how big your problems are. Tell your problems how big your God is.” Speak the Truth that God has written in His Word and spoken in your heart. Tell those words- verbatim- to the enemy and know that God will fulfill every good thing that He has promised over your life. Whether you are facing temptation, pain from a loss, depression/anxiety, health scares, or [fill in the blank], know that God is bigger than them all. With no politeness but all authority, remind the enemy of the God that you serve.
But don’t think it; you have to say it.
Because he does not know your thoughts.
TerKeurst, L. (2018). It’s not supposed to be this way: Finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.