Overcoming Wrong Thinking
By Rev. Elbert Willis
If you’re going to walk in victory with the Lord and learn more about the things of God, you’re going to have to have victory over wrong thinking, because if you don’t the devil is going to keep your mind filled with fears and frustration and confusion and doubt and worry. Most people’s minds run 99 to nothing all the time. Now it’s all right if you’re running your motor, but most of your motors are running and not thinking about Jesus. If you keep your motor running thinking about Jesus, you’re going somewhere. But if you’re keeping your motor, your mind, running and you’re not thinking of Jesus, and you’re thinking about all the things of the world all the time, pretty soon your motor is going to wear out. You’ll wear out; but as you have your mind stayed upon Jesus, you’ll receive some of the things of God.
The first thing, as we talk about overcoming wrong thinking, you’re going to have to realize the completeness of Jesus’ work at Calvary.
I. COMPLETENESS OF JESUS’ WORK: This is the basis of it. If you don’t get this straight, you’ll not be able to overcome wrong thinking. You have to have the right foundation. You say, “Brother Willis, what was the completeness of Jesus work, what did Jesus accomplish? Did He just come and die and say that I’ve overcome the devil? Or is it really so? Is it really true? Is it really real so that when Jesus died at Calvary and said, ‘It is finished,’ that He did defeat the devil and you and I can have victory over it?” You see, until you settle the issue and get it clear in your mind that Jesus DID defeat the devil, and because Jesus has defeated him, if you know Him as your Savior and He lives in you, you can overcome the devil and you can have victory and overcome the wrong thinking of your mind. You can guide your mind yourself.
I John 3:8 says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Do you think He failed? No, He didn’t fail; therefore He DID destroy the works of the devil. But you say, “Brother Willis, why isn’t this so in my life?” I’ll spell it out plainly — because we’ve been ignorant of the truths of God. We have been duped and deceived by the devil. We’ve been told by the world there are certain things you have to do and certain ways you have to act and certain things you have to think about. I really appreciate Psalm 1:1 where it says to walk not in the counsel of the ungodly. You say, “Brother Willis, what is the counsel of the ungodly?” Well, the world says you have to use a doctor, if you don’t you’ll die. That’s not so — Jesus says He healed you. The world says many things, but the Bible says walk not in the counsel of the ungodly. So Jesus says that He destroyed the works of the devil; now you have a choice. You can believe what your mind tells you, you can believe what your feelings tell you, you can believe what your circumstances tell you, or you can believe what God says in I John 3:8. You see, faith is just deciding what you’re going to believe, if you’re going to believe the Word of God above what you see. Because, you see, there are two sets of truths — there are the things that you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, feel, smell, and taste; and then there is the Word of God. Now Christians must learn to walk by THIS truth, amen? This truth says in I John 3:8 that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and we know that He did it. Therefore, we’ll believe the superseding truth, which is the Word of God, and we can walk in victory every day. But most Christians won’t believe the superseding truth of God’s Word, they’ll believe what they see, what they hear, and what they feel, and they’ll discount the Word of God.
All right, Jesus said He came to destroy the works of the devil. Let’s get this straight now. He died for our sins, not His. He didn’t have any sins. He died for our diseases and our sicknesses — He didn’t have any diseases and sicknesses. He was perfect, pure, holy. So when Jesus came and died at Calvary, He didn’t come to do it for Himself. He didn’t need to. He was in heaven; He didn’t know anything about the sin, He was not involved with it, He was Jesus Christ the Son of God. So He came here for you and me. He came here to set you and me free from sin. He came here to set you and me free from disease. He came here to endue you and me with the power that we need so that we can overcome the devil and all the things of the world, so that our lives will be overcoming lives so that we can show to the lost man that Jesus Christ is truly alive.
Jesus came and triumphed over Satan for US, not Himself. Jesus didn’t need to defeat the devil for Himself, He already had power over him, amen? Why did He defeat the devil? He defeated him for you and me. He pulled this thing for you and me. The devil couldn’t do anything to Jesus; Jesus Christ was the Son of God. So when Jesus came and died, He triumphed over the devil for whom? For you and me. He defeated him so you and I would know that he’s already whipped. You know what most Christians’ problem is? They’re trying to do something Jesus has already done, trying to whip the devil; and he’s already been whipped. All you have to do is realize he’s whipped and use the tools Jesus gave you and you can walk in victory. Don’t you think Jesus did a good job of him? And we go around all the time trying to whip him. If you’ll just realize he’s whipped, and Jesus did it, then you can just ride in on what Jesus did.
Let me just give you an example. Let’s say some man, Rockefeller for example, he’s a multi-multi-millionaire. You know, his sons and daughters just live off the money he’s made. Amen? They can live off the interest of what he made from now on, and never have to hit a lick at a snake, never have to do anything. Well, brothers and sisters, you and I can just ride on the victory of Jesus, right on into eternity. Do you understand what I’m saying?
The devil has been defeated. Jesus didn’t need to do it for Himself; He did it for you and me. Jesus came and died that WE could have power over the devil. Jesus didn’t need power over the devil; He defeated him so that WE would have power over him. Jesus didn’t need power over the devil; He already had it. He didn’t defeat him so that He would get power, but Jesus defeated him so that we would know that WE have power over the devil. He tells us in Luke 10:19, I give you power; I give you power to tread upon the serpents and scorpions, over ALL the power of the enemy. And brothers and sisters, the devil IS your enemy, so you have power over the devil. You say, “Brother Willis, he’s beating me around.” It’s because you’re not believing that you have the power.
He came and shed His blood for US to reach God, not Him. Amen? He didn’t need to shed blood for Him to reach God — He IS God. He shed His blood and died so that you and I could reach God. He shed His blood and died that you and I would have power. He shed His blood and died and triumphed over the devil so that you and I could live upon His victory and walk in His victory by believing that what He did was a completed work in Christ Jesus.
You say, “Brother Willis, how does this tie in with wrong thinking?” Well, I’ll show you, because if you don’t know what power you have, the devil is going to control your mind all the time, and not you through the power of the Holy Spirit.
II. ASSURANCE OF SON-SHIP: If you’re going to overcome wrong thinking you have to have an assurance of son-ship. You have to know that you belong to God. You have to know that you’ve been born again into the kingdom of God. For example, Elbert Willis is my dad in Oakdale, Louisiana. If he would die, and leave me an inheritance, and I knew I was his son, I’d go get my inheritance. But if I didn’t know if I was his son or not, I’d be hesitant about it, right? You see, I don’t have to prove that I’m the son of Elbert Willis. It’s already established. The people in Oakdale know that I’m the son of Elbert Willis. Well, brothers and sisters, when you and I realize that through the new birth we’re the sons of God and our lives are lived this way, it’s an established fact that we’re sons of God and people won’t wonder who we are or what we are. You’re going to have to have an assurance of son-ship.
John 3:6 says flesh is born of flesh and spirit is born of Spirit. I can’t go over this enough. What is son-ship? What is the new birth? John 3:6 says what? Flesh is born of flesh and spirit is born of Spirit. Elbert Willis and Bernice Willis conceived and I came forth because I had a fleshly birth. You all do know all of you have had a fleshly birth, don’t you? You’ve had that birth; but you have to have birth number two to enter the kingdom of God. He says flesh is born of flesh and spirit is born of Spirit. Because of my fleshly birth I have a heart, I have lungs, I have blood, I have flesh, and I have bone. Because I have heart and lungs and bones and flesh, I am assured that I am a son of a human being. Well, brothers and sisters, the Bible says that spirit is born of Spirit. That meant the Holy Spirit of God touched my human spirit and recreated my human spirit, and I was born of God. I had a birth from above. I had a conception with God. God the Holy Spirit touched my human spirit and conception took place. I was recreated in my spirit, and I had the second birth; and because of this second birth I have certain characteristics that prove I’m a son of God. I have flesh, blood, and bones, that prove I’m a son of man. Brothers and sisters, because of the spiritual birth I know that I am a son of God.
II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Behold, we are new creatures in Christ.” What is a new creature? Not your flesh, not your body, but your spirit. John 3:6 says flesh is born of flesh and spirit is born of Spirit. When the Spirit of God touched your human spirit and recreated it, you were born again and He made it a holy place, and that’s where God is living inside of you and me. That makes us a son of God, amen? If you’re going to have victory to overcome wrong thinking, you’re going to have to have an assurance of son-ship. You see, many Christians today don’t have an assurance that they’re saved. They don’t know that they’re going to heaven. You could ask many of them, “If you would die now, would you go to heaven?” And they say, “Well, I hope so.” You ask me if I think I’m going? I’m not going to say, “I hope,” I’m going to say, “I KNOW I’m going.” You say, “Brother Willis, how do you KNOW that you’re going to heaven?” Because I’ve followed the instructions. I’m no dodo, I can read. You give me a map, and I can follow it and get to Houston, Texas. Right there in the Bible it says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And I want to tell you, I called on Him. I said, “Lord, forgive me of my sins, and save me.” And the Bible says in His directions that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. You can ask me rain, shine, sleet or snow… “Elbert Willis, do you think you’re going to heaven? Elbert Willis, are you a son of God?” And I’ll say, “YES, I am a son of God.” They say, “How do you know you’re a son of God?” I’ll say, “Because the Bible says right there in Romans that if I called on Him I’d be saved and He’d make me His son.” I don’t base it on my feelings. I don’t base it on my good looks. It’s not based on that, is it? We know that we’re sons of God because the Bible says if we’ll do this we are. Then I know because something down inside of me says, “Yes I am.” That’s the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God bears witness with your spirit. You say, “Brother Willis, how can I come more to this assurance of son-ship?” Start confessing every day that you’ve done what the Bible says, and because of that you’re a son or a daughter of God. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Your faith will be built in this area, and you’ll have an assurance.
Hebrews 10:22 says we come before Him with FULL ASSURANCE. You see, you need this to get your prayers answered. I know I’m the son of Elbert Willis. When I was growing up I knew because I was the son of Elbert Willis I had the right to say, “Daddy, I need a shirt;” “Father, I need some shoes;” “Father, I need some food.” Because I was born of him, I had the right to ask him for things. Well, brothers and sisters, because you and I have had a spiritual birth, we have the right to ask our Father in heaven to provide everything He tells us in His Word that He will. Can you say amen? You see, you need to have an assurance that you’re a son of God, so you can boldly go before your Father, and say, “Father, I need this.” But, you see, most Christians don’t know. They’ll kind of ease up to the door.
Here’s a little illustration Brother Ken Sumrall uses. He says that when he was growing up they lived in Mississippi. Where they lived, the train track was near their house, and it was going up a long hill. The old trains in those days had a hard time getting up those long hills. A lot of men were hoboing, and things were real rough in the days of the depression. Where the train would slow up going up the hill, this is where the hoboes would jump off. Brother Sumrall lived real near there, so the hoboes would always come over to their house asking for something to eat. He said these hoboes would always come around to the back door. You’d hear a little light peck on the back door, you’d go open the door and there would be a hobo standing there with his hat in his hand and say, “Ma’am, could I cut some wood or do something to have something to eat?” He said, “You know, they were hoboes; they weren’t part of the family, they came around to the back door, and knocked gently.” He said, “But you know what? When I came to the house, I just walked up to the front door. That’s where my Dad lived. I just walked up to the front door and opened the front door and walked on in.” He said, “You know, when I was hungry, I didn’t go knock on the door and say, ‘Hey, can I have something to eat?’ I just went into the refrigerator. I just went into the cupboard, because that was my home. My father had provided that place for me; I knew what I was. I wasn’t a hobo.” You see, most of God’s people today are still acting like hoboes, coming up and pecking on the door, wanting to know if they can come into their own Father’s house and get something to eat. Wanting to know if their own Father will provide them clothes and food and health and strength. I want to tell you, when you get assurance of son-ship you’ll know that you’re a son of God and a child of God because the Bible says so. And then when you have needs you can go to your Father. He’s my Father in heaven. WE all call Him our Father in heaven; the Lord’s prayer says our Father. Everybody expresses our Father, and most people will say, “Our Father,” and then they just say, “I wonder if He’ll do something for me?” I’ll tell you what — my boys and girls don’t ease up to me, they’re pretty quick to ask me. They found out I’m pretty good about giving. Well, when we get to the place we have confidence in our Father to provide for us, we’ll have assurance of it. Praise the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, one of the greatest needs today in Christianity is to have an assurance of son-ship, and you can only have this when you know that the devil’s work is destroyed and you belong to Jesus Christ the Son of God. I want to lead you in a prayer right now. There may be some of you who don’t know for sure that you belong to Jesus. I want you to pray this prayer; and if you’ll pray this prayer with sincerity, then from now on, if anybody asks you if you’re going to heaven you can say, “Yes, I’m going there.” They’ll say, “How do you know?” You say, “Because I did what the Bible says,” and the Bible says in Romans 10:13, “Whosoever (who does that mean? Anybody) shall call upon the name of the Lord,” shall be what? Saved. So I want to lead you in this prayer:
“Father, in the name of Jesus I ask You to forgive me of my sins and save me. Come into my life now, according to Your Word, which says whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I’ve just called, so according to Your Word I’m saved and I’m going to heaven, and I thank You for it, and we’ll not debate it anymore. Amen.”
God’s Word says if you’ll do that you’re saved. So don’t argue with God’s Word. Don’t say, “Well, I don’t feel like it.” We’re not going by your feelings; we’re going by the Word of God.
III. LOCATION OF REAL BATTLEFIELD: All right, the third thing in overcoming wrong thinking is you’re going to have to know the location of the real battlefield. On one side there is God, and on the other side there is Satan. The mind is the real battlefield. If you yield your mind to the Spirit of God you will show forth God, amen? If you yield your mind to the devil, you’ll show forth the devil.
Romans 6:13 &16 very plainly says that whoever you yield your members to, and your mind is one of your members. Hallelujah! All right, before we look anymore at the mind, look at Romans 6:13. There’s something we have to get clear. Assurance of son-ship, thirdly, you’re going to have to recognize ownership of the mind. Whose mind is it in your head? This is my hand; Close, open, close, open. These are my eyes — Shut, open. This is my leg — up, down. Brothers and sisters, whose mind is this in my head? Well, I ought to be able to control what’s mine, shouldn’t I? But you see, most Christians don’t realize THEY can control their mind by learning the Word of God. So you’re going to have to realize it’s your mind. But most Christians let the devil control their mind all the time. Anger will come in; someone will say something to you that you don’t particularly like, and what do you let your mind do? You let your mind feed on that junk. You let your mind feed on the bad things. You let your mind feed on the bad things they said about you. It’s your mind, you don’t have to think about that. Many times people say, “Well, Brother Willis, I just can’t help thinking that way.” Yes, you can; because the Bible says I can do ALL things through Jesus Christ Who strengthens me. So you’re going to have to realize if you’re going to overcome wrong thinking, whose mind it is. It’s YOUR mind and you can control your mind.
Do any of you ever have any trouble with your hand running off? I know you do with your mouths, but not your hand. Anybody ever have any trouble with your foot running off? Just taking off on its own? What do you let your mind do that for? Does your foot ever go and get itself in places that you don’t want to be by itself? No, where you want it is where you put it. Well, you put your mind where you want it to be, too. Stop letting your mind just run and run and run; realize it’s YOUR mind and that Jesus died to give you power and authority to control your mind, so you can meditate upon the things of God.
All right, whenever you do this you’re going to have to know the location of the real battlefield, which is the mind.
Look at Romans 6:16. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Let’s read that 13th verse, “Neither yield ye your members…” (is your mind part of you?) “…Neither yield ye your minds as instruments of unrighteousness…” He says, “Don’t yield your mind to think the wrong way.” Now all of you are smart enough not to take your hand and stick it in the fire, aren’t you? You’re all intelligent enough not to go outside and put your hand in a car door and slam it. I believe all of you are too smart for that. Well, Brothers and sisters, why let your mind run off and meditate and think on things that hurt? Why let your mind think on fear? Why let your mind think on envy, bitterness, jealousy, animosity? Doesn’t it hurt? It hurts. Therefore he says, “Neither yield ye your members to unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourself unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
Whose mind is it? Your mind. Now you can yield your mind either to the Spirit of God Who lives in you, or to the devil who is oppressing you from outside. God tells you how and what to do with your mind. You say, “Brother Willis, where does He tell me?” We get it primarily in Philippians 4:8. He says only think on those things that are just, holy, pure, lovely, honest, and of good report. You see, so many Christians want to go on with God, yet they will not make their minds think the right way. They want to mature, they want to grow, they want to have victory, but they’ll let their minds think evil. They yield their minds to the devil. Now it is a battlefield. I want you to notice I used the word “battlefield” here.
Listen, why is it such a battle? Because all your life you’ve let the devil come in and make your mind think what he wanted it to think, right? And now as a Christian you’re beginning to learn there is a new way, and you’re going to stop your mind from running off and thinking like it used to. Now you’re going to take your mind and put it upon God, and it’s a fight. The devil has had your mind under control all these years and he’s fighting to keep it that way. Realize that God desires to control your mind, because your mind is the key natural factor in your expression. Let me explain that. In your expressing love you can’t express love if your mind is filled with resentment. If you’re mind is filled with love and compassion and your feelings are filled with love and compassion, then that’s what you can express. Now many times through hypocrisy we can smile, and on the inside you’d just like to lash out. But, brothers and sisters, the mind is the key natural factor in your expression. If your mind is thinking and meditating a lot on the Word of God, if your mind is meditating on the things of God, if you refuse to let your mind think on bad, wicked, evil thoughts, then you will express God more than you ever have before. Most Christians can’t express the love and joy and peace of God because the devil is controlling their minds. How can you express peace if your mind is filled with confusion? How can you express joy if your mind is filled with fear? How can you express joy if your mind is filled with worry? Therefore, the battle is for the control of your mind, because the devil knows if he controls your mind then you will express his nature. If God controls your mind, and your mind is yielded to God, you can express the nature of God. God is invisible and the devil is invisible, and whichever invisible spirit controls your mind and your emotions, that is the one you will show forth to the world. If you yield yourself to the invisible God that’s inside of you, you’ll show forth His attributes, which are love, joy, peace, gentleness, and kindness. But if you yield your mind to the invisible enemy, the devil, the stuff he shoots into your mind, you’ll show forth anger, fear, frustration, hurt, discouragement, and disappointment. Listen, Christian, it’s easy to know who you’re yielding to. When I minister to you, I can tell you where you are, and where you’ve been. You can talk just a few minutes and I can tell you where you’ve been. I can tell you where your mind has been traveling. When you come in all upset or slumped over, you’ve been in the garbage dump with your mind. But times when you’re not in the garbage dump with your mind, you come in happy and light as a feather. Can you say amen? When you let your mind stay in the garbage dump, you come in with that stuff in your mind, and it affects you. But if you’ve been with Jesus… Sometimes you come in and you’ve been kind of dabbling in both, and then we’ll get to praising the Lord a little bit, and the Spirit of God just rises up, and you worship the Lord.
Therefore, if you’re going to overcome wrong thinking, you’re going to have to know what is the location of the real battlefield. Whose mind? Your mind. Your mind is the key natural factor. Whoever controls your mind controls you.
Let’s take for example, someone comes up to you and says, “You surely are aging.” Especially you ladies. Now if these words control your mind, you’re going to get real cute about it. If the enemy through these words controls your mind and makes you feel bad, you’re going to speak forth things that show who is in charge of your mind, amen? But if you’ll refuse to let these things control your mind, and let the Spirit of God control your mind, you can go right on loving them. You can be patient — that means to be confident, to be the same always. Therefore, the mind is the battlefield.
All day long the devil is out there with his guns, using people and circumstances to shoot your mind, pow, pow! All kinds of thoughts come into it, things from last week, and even things from last YEAR. Where is all this stuff coming from? What is the devil doing? He’s shooting this stuff into your mind so he can control your mind, so he can keep you thinking like he wants you to think, so he knows the direction you’re going. Why does he want to do this? If he can control your mind, he’ll keep you thinking on 50 different things, and you’ll end up being tired and worn out. Amen? You say, “Brother Willis, I have a lot of work I have to do.” Oh, yes, do your work and put your mind back on Jesus. What most of you do, you do your work and then put your mind on worrying about it.
IV. LIMITS OF SATAN’S POWERS: You’re going to have to realize there are limits to his power.
1. Cannot read mind. First of all, the devil cannot read your mind. Now you think he can, but he has been in control of your life and he knows human nature so well, he knows if he says, “Boo,” how most Christians will react.” Here’s what he’s doing. He’s jabbing thoughts into your mind all day long. The only way he knows if you take the bait is by your actions or by your words. Let’s say for example someone comes up to you and says, “Well, that suit surely doesn’t look good on you.” The only way the devil will know if you took that bait is by the words that come forth from your mouth or the way you act. If you control your mind and put that out, then he’ll never know. Keep him ignorant all the time. You know how you do this? Keep your mouth all the time praising God and glorifying the name of Jesus. Then he never knows if you took it or not.
So the devil is going around all day long shooting this thought, this worry, this frustration, this confusion, this problem into your mind. And the next thing you know if he sees you sitting somewhere with your head in your hand, his demons say, “Now, which one of those thoughts did he take? Next thing you know you’ll call somebody up on the telephone and say, “Hey, you know I’ve been thinking about something,” and the devil says, “Yeah, that’s the way she’s going. Get her, boys; get her.” You’ve already given yourself away about what thought he got you with. He shoots things in my mind all day long, but all I say is, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, glory, glory,…” and he never knows what’s going on. Listen, he ran me ragged enough years ago and I’m running him now. I’ve found out Jesus destroyed the power of the devil; and I’ve found out that he cannot read my mind.
Now listen to me: he knows how to set traps for you. He’ll have Mary say something to you, and he’s already working on Jane, so in case you take that bait Jane can come in here and punch it a little bit more. But if you don’t take the bait, when Jane comes and punches you, you won’t even recognize it. But you see, if Mary gets you angry, then Jane comes and gouges you, you’ll blow up. Have you ever gone through the day and it seemed like something just kept going on all day long? Ole Slue-foot had been working on you. Listen, when things start coming against my mind, or pressure starts trying to come against me, I know what’s going on. That’s why I’m trying to teach you; I know who’s working. I know that God is not the author of confusion and fear and frustration and envy and jealousy. I don’t let my mind think outside of Philippians 4:8. Anything that doesn’t fit Philippians 4:8, I put it in the garbage can. Is it easy, Brother Willis? No, I’m not telling you something that’s easy; but I’m telling you something that through the power of God you can do.
All right, if you’re going to overcome wrong thinking you must know that he cannot read your mind. If you’ll read I Corinthians 2:11, it says that only the spirit of man knows what man thinks, and the devil is not the spirit of man. But the Holy Ghost is in the spirit of man, so God knows.
2. Not omnipresent. Secondly, you’re going to have to realize the devil is not omnipresent. That means the devil is not everywhere with everybody all the time. Only the Holy Spirit of God can be with all of God’s people everywhere in the world. You say, “Brother Willis, if the devil is not omnipresent, he can’t be with everybody. But when I was on the job today he was after me, and my wife was at home, and he was after her, too. Who was doing all that?” He has a trained army of evil spirits, and they’re everywhere. They’ve been in and out of so many human beings, they know human nature perfectly. Ever since the creation of man these evil spirits have been here. They’re disembodied beings that live forever. They are immortal. Therefore they are in a human being until they get kicked out or you die. When human beings die they leave, unless somebody comes along and knows what to do and casts them out in the name of Jesus. But these evil spirits are a trained army, and they know exactly about human nature, and they’re always working on you to cause fear, frustration, confusion, doubt and worry.
All right, before we go any further. You must be clear on the completeness of Jesus’ work. He destroyed the works of the devil; he defeated him. Secondly, you must have assurance of son-ship; and you must know ownership of your mind. Thirdly, you must know the location of the real battlefield. Where is the real battlefield? In the mind. Who is trying to control your mind? God wants to control it, and the devil wants to control it. Satan is trying to control it, and if Satan controls your mind you’ll show forth the devil. If God controls your mind you’ll show forth God. God wants to be expressed in this world, and He needs you to yield to Him. The key natural factor in expression is the mind.
Okay, the limits of Satan’s power: he cannot read your mind. I want you to say that: “Satan, you can’t read my mind; because the Bible says in I Corinthians 2:11 that only the spirit of man, only my spirit, knows what is in my mind.” You need to confess that every day. Listen, the devil can plant thoughts in your mind to such an extent you’ll think he’s reading it. He can figure out your next step if you act a certain way. You know, I can do a lot of that myself, can’t you? People who study a lot of these things know a lot about human nature. I know a little bit about human nature. I know if I hit Brother So-and-so upside the head, I can kind of have some idea how he may react. I can tell you two or three things he’d probably do. Can’t you? Well, don’t you think the demons are at least that smart? They know if they gouge you enough all day long, they have some idea how you’ll react and they’ll set other traps for you.
V. PRIMARY ATTACK METHODS: You’re going to have to know his primary attack weapons, or attack methods. There are two primary weapons the devil uses against us: planting thoughts and blocking thoughts.
1. Planting. II Timothy 1:7 says God has not given us a spirit of fear. This is what I’ve been talking about. The devil plants, or injects thoughts in your mind. This is one of the things he can do — he can stick thoughts in your mind. Have you ever been just reading the Bible. Here you’ve got your mind exercised reading the Bible; and all at once another thought comes. Did you ever lie down and say, “I’m going to go to sleep,” and shut your eyes to go to sleep, and all at once here comes a thought? And all at once here comes another thought? This is the devil. Oh, listen, I used to lie down and get ready to go to sleep and my mind would just be rehashing everything, and next thing I knew it would come to my mind what Joe said to me a month ago. Amen? Have you ladies ever been lying there in bed and all at once it would come to your mind what your husband said to you two years ago? He forgot my birthday. Joe took his wife some roses, and Bob didn’t bring me any. Do you understand what I’m saying? This is what the devil is doing all the time, planting thoughts in your mind.
Dear Christian friend, the devil’s most powerful weapon is fear. Fear causes insecurity; fear causes worry. You may have fear about today, fear about tomorrow, fear about whether your husband loves you, or your wife loves you; fear about your son or daughter; fear about accidents, fear about death, fear about finances, fear about how you’re going to make it, fear about old age. Brothers and sisters, fear is the devil’s number one weapon, and it works right in your MIND. He plants it in your mind; therefore, whenever fear about anything comes to your mind, you need to close the door. Drive it out.
But here’s the problem most Christians have. The devil puts the thought in your mind and you’ll entertain it. You’ll think on it for two or three minutes, and then you try to drive it out, and you can hardly do it. You know what it’s like? It’s like a thief.
You go home and you hear somebody scratching around on your window. You’re in the back bedroom and they’re in the living room, and you hear a little noise. You lie there and say, “You know, Honey, I believe somebody is trying to get in the window.” About that time you hear glass shatter. You say, “You know what? I believe somebody is trying to break into our house.” Next thing you know you hear a window go up. You say, “You know what? I sure believe somebody is trying to get in our house.” Next thing you know you hear the pots rattling; next thing you know you hear the door to the next room slam. You say, “You know, I believe somebody is in our house.” You get up and walk to the door, and there is a guy about 6’2″ in the hall, and you try to get him out. Now you have a fight. It’s a long way to try to get him back out that window.
But you know, if you’d been smart when you heard that little noise outside, you’d have gotten a club, and when he stuck his head in that window, you’d have hit him. Amen? You see, you can stop the thief at the window a lot easier than you can after he gets in your house. Brothers and sisters, stop the devil at the door of your mind. Whenever fear or frustration comes, the minute it hits your mind, stop it. The longer you entertain that thought, the harder it will be to shut it off. Have you ever entertained a thought so long and you wanted to stop it, but you couldn’t? It’s like some of these cars sometimes — you turn the key off and that motor just keeps on running. You’ll try to drive that thought out of your mind. Well, what’s happened, you see — you’ve already let the devil get in; and now it will take you some time to drive him out. You’ll have to keep on refusing that thought. But what you’ll do, you’ll get smart. When he tries to plant thoughts in your mind, the minute a thought comes to your mind that will not fit Philippians 4:8, that’s just and pure and lovely and holy and honest and of good report, cut it off right then. I don’t care what it’s about. If you want to overcome wrong thinking, if you want to walk in victory, if you want your mind to be stayed upon Jesus, you’re going to have to stop the planting of thoughts of the devil. If you don’t, he’ll run you ragged. You’ll get to the end of a day and you’ll be exhausted. You men on your jobs, listen, he’ll plant thoughts in your minds on your jobs and run you ragged. I know; he ran me ragged for many years. Oh, but, hallelujah, praise God, we’re learning better than that today. The devil plants thoughts.
2. Blocking. Secondly, he blocks thoughts. Isn’t it hard to remember the Bible? You want to remember, don’t you? But the devil’s always blocking it, isn’t he? You can read some fiction book, and you can tell the whole thing right back, can’t you? But you read two or three chapters in the Bible, and if the Holy Ghost is not really moving with you, you’ll not remember very much of it, will you? Why? Who’s blocking it? Who always fights you on getting hold of the Word of God? The devil, because he doesn’t want you to know God’s Word because God’s Word liberates you. Now listen, he’ll block thoughts and bring them back later.
The best example I can use is in Baldwin. One time I was in the office reading the Bible. I got to reading and studying the Bible, and I want to tell you I was having me a Holy Ghost good time. All at once the thought came into my mind, “You forgot to get the typewriter ribbon.” That wasn’t a bad thought. Before I noticed myself, I was getting up from there to go get that typewriter ribbon. And there I was reading that Bible and having me a Holy Ghost time. You see, he blocked the thought about the typewriter ribbon and brought it back just when I was moving with God. Have you ever been where the Spirit of God was just moving, and you were getting blessed, and all at once a thought came about something you forgot to do? Maybe something you forgot to do at work, or maybe something you forgot to do before you left the house? You see, the devil blocks these thoughts and then he catches you right when you’re in a good place with God and runs in there and plants it back in there. You know what most Christians will do? They’ll lose their worship with God. There I was having a good time with God and all at once the thought came back to me about that typewriter ribbon. I started to get up, and all at once I recognized what the devil was doing to me. I sat back down and laughed. I said, “Devil, I’ll take care of that typewriter ribbon later,” and I got back in the Word.
Now he’ll use evil things, but I’ll tell you what he’ll use more than anything else: he’ll use things that are not bad, something that you should have done or wanted to do, and he’ll cause you not to remember it when you have time to do it, and then he’ll bring it back to you right in the middle of worship service.
You’re going to have to realize if you’re going to overcome wrong thinking that the devil will plant and block. He’ll block the thoughts and bring them back to you. Well, how do you know? Listen, here you are worshiping God; would GOD bring back to you that you left your roast on? No. Would God bring back to you while you were worshiping Him that you forgot to get a typewriter ribbon? God wants you to worship Him and serve Him, right? And right in the middle of the worshiping here comes some little old diddle-daddle thought just floating along, and poom. All at once you feel the Spirit just lifting. You’ll be worshiping and all at once the thought comes to your mind, Joe’s here tonight, and he’s not for this hand-raising. Amen? Haven’t you come to service to just worship and praise God, but there can be someone who is just looking into this thing, that’s investigating and trying to find out about it, and the devil will just keep that in your mind, and you’ll not be able to be as free? I’m talking to you. I know, I know; I’ve had it happen many times.
VI. GRADUAL RENEWAL OF MIND: Sixthly, if you’re going to overcome wrong thinking you have to realize there is a gradual renewing of the mind. Romans 12:2 says be ye not conformed to the world but be transformed by what? The renewing of whose mind? YOUR mind. And the two examples I use all the time — I want to use them for you again. The IBM machine. They can put information into it. Any time you put information in that IBM machine that it doesn’t have in it, it kicks it out, right? Your mind is your IBM machine — all your life the devil and the world and society have been putting information in your IBM machine. It was in all our IBM machines that speaking in tongues was of the devil. We either didn’t know anything about it or we were taught against it. So whenever we heard about speaking in tongues we kicked it out. Divine healing, praising God — have you ever noticed how difficult it is to lift your hands? And praise God? Did you ever notice how difficult it is? Because we haven’t been programmed that way. We’ve been programmed all our lives — reverence, amen? We’ve been programmed reverence. We get somewhere where they’re hand-clapping and praising God and our IBM machine won’t take that. You can’t assimilate that, because you haven’t been programmed that way. Well, brothers and sisters, God wants to reprogram your mind and my mind to think right, and to overcome wrong thinking, and to know that He that is in us is greater than he that’s in the world, to be able to overcome these things. Therefore, what God’s Word is doing is reprogramming your mind; and you’re going to have to remember this: what God’s Word says will come against the world’s teaching. God’s Word comes against what you and I have been programmed for. God’s Word says the walls of Jericho fell down when they shouted. The programming of the natural mind of man can’t take that. They can’t accept it, amen? The world has been programmed that only doctors can heal, and you tell them that Jesus can heal cancer and their IBM machine will kick it out. They can’t accept that, because they don’t know God’s Word. They don’t have God’s Word in their minds. So as you get God’s Word in your mind it will gradually renew your mind and you’ll be able to raise your hands, you’ll be able to shout, you’ll be able to believe in divine healing, you’ll be able to speak in tongues. You’ll know more of these things because your mind now has that NEW information in it. Amen? That’s what’s going on. I don’t have any trouble about believing God can heal any more. I don’t have any trouble about believing in miracles any more. But I want to tell you, four and a half years ago if you started talking about miracles, I would not have believed you. Listen, I’d been in this charismatic movement for a year, and the first time I heard somebody talk about teeth being filled, boy, something inside of me just rejected it. I just didn’t act like it bothered me, but something inside of me said, “Man, that’s just too far out.” About a month later somebody walked up to me and asked me to pray for their teeth to be filled. The Lord knows that will put you in your place. The devil doesn’t know but the Lord knows. I didn’t let the devil know anything, but God knew what I was thinking about those teeth being filled. And I just acted like I knew what I was doing; I just laid my hand upon their head and said, “Mouth, be filled with teeth. Be whole in the name of Jesus.” Ahhhh! They had a filling. I looked, said, “Let me see.” No kidding, the first two or three times I looked. I wanted to see it myself. That’s all right; God doesn’t mind us seeing those things. But, you see, I didn’t have that in my IBM computer. I just couldn’t take that. And the first time I heard them talking about legs growing out my mind just went into a spin. You see, I hadn’t been programmed; my mind was not renewed by God’s Word. God’s Word says if thou canst believe, ALL things are possible. The Word says NOTHING is impossible with God. And when I heard about that I thought for a moment, “You mean to tell me, the leg is that much shorter — you mean bone, flesh, nerves, tendons and everything just does like that?” You let your mind try to grab that; it can’t grab it. But I’ve seen many a leg do that; I’ve seen many a leg grow out a half inch, or two inches, just shoop! All you see is a pants leg wiggle. That’s bone and flesh and blood and nerves and tendons — you can’t grab that with the natural mind. Only the mind that’s been renewed by God’s Word can get that.
Gradually the mind is being renewed by the Word of God. When you get God’s Word in your mind, you’ll know that God can do anything. Brothers and sisters, if He’s powerful enough to raise us up from the grave and take us to a place called heaven, can’t He give us power over our minds down here?
All right, whose mind is it? What are you going to do with it from now on? It’s your decision, amen? I can’t do anything with your mind. If you listen, I’ll give you some new information, if your computer can take it. If your computer can’t take it, come back some more and we’ll get it in there after a while. Because you see, God’s Word is the strongest information. Many of you wonder how did you finally accept this? Number one reason, you’ve got God inside of you, and something inside you says God can do anything. Secondly, do you notice how many Scriptures I quote? All the time I’m quoting Scriptures. God’s Word is the strongest words that are spoken.
That’s like the little cassette player. You can take a cassette and you’ve got recorded information in it. You can push the play button and the cassette plays. But you can go back and push the play and record buttons, and then you can begin to speak, and a stronger impulse, stronger words, go in there and it erases the old and puts the new on there. If you will read God’s Word and study God’s Word and hear God’s Word, it will literally erase the world’s concept of what you can do and what you can’t do, and it will put GOD’S concept in there. The world says, “You can’t do this;” the next thing you know God’s Word will erase that and you will say, “God CAN do it.” The world says, “You have to use man for your healing;” the next thing you know you’ll get God’s Word in there, which is the stronger word, the greater truth, and it will erase it and you’ll say, “I believe in healing.” You’ll just all at once one day begin to believe it. How does it come about? Renewal of the mind. That Spirit of God inside desires for you and me to get this Word inside of us. And with God inside, and our minds renewed by the Word, we can overcome wrong thinking.
Dear Christian friend, it will make your days beautiful, as you control your mind. Fear hurts. All of us have been hurt many times in many ways in our past lives. It hurts to remember those things. Can you say amen? So why in the world go dig in the graveyard? My, my, my, how God’s people will go back five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten years and dig those old stinking graveyard things up. It’s gone; it’s dead. Let it die; let it stay there. But a lot of God’s people go back and dig those old bones up. Listen, things that hurt and destroy your love, your joy, your peace — don’t think on them. Jesus says in John 10:10 He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, and the devil has come to kill, steal and destroy. Any thought that comes to your mind that would kill and steal and destroy your good opinion of someone, your love for someone, your compassion for someone, your own joy, your own peace, your own belief in God’s Word — it’s not God. God will not give you love and then put something there to destroy it. God will not give you joy, then say something to take it away. God will not give you peace, and then grab it. Brothers and sisters, the devil is the one that’s controlling it, putting the wrong things in. God puts the good things in. You control your mind, and begin to confess every day, “It’s my mind and I have control over it.” Would you confess it with me now? “It’s MY mind, and I have control over it. And through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in me, I WILL control it; I WILL think right. I will think the RIGHT things all the time, and I’ll close out the bad thoughts. Amen.”
You all know that will make life better, won’t it? Isn’t it amazing how the devil can bring all those old things back to hurt us? But I’ve been set free. Overcoming wrong thinking, so we can live in right thinking. Praise God. Hallelujah. Now it’s going to be a fight, but you have God inside of you so you can do this.