Maintaining Control

After someone has shared their story, I ask, Would you like to resolve these issues? Nobody has ever said, No. Then I say: With your permission then, I will lead you through these Steps to Freedom in Christ. Before we start I want you to understand that what happens here today is all based on what you do, and not on what I do. Nothing that I try to do for you will last. I need you to cooperate with me on one major issue. If you have any thoughts in your mind that are contrary to what we are doing, just share them with me. Your mind is the control center, and if you don’t lose control then we won’t. I don’t care if those thoughts are coming from a speaker on the wall, from yourself, another person, or from the enemy. The only way such thoughts can have any effect on you is if you believe and obey them. You may not experience any interference at all. Typical thoughts from the enemy include: “This isn’t going to work.” “He can’t help you,” etc. In difficult cases the thoughts are more blasphemous, threatening, and condemning.

In most cases there is very little interference, because God is granting repentance. Anything He commands us to do, He will enable. However, the devil will try to interfere with any process where he loses ground. Since he is disarmed, the only weapon he has is lies and intimidation. Don’t minimalize this, because it is very effective. His ability to deceive is why the “whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 Jn. 5:19). The italicized words in that passage are added by the translator. Satan really doesn’t have any power or authority over the believer, but it will appear that way if you believe his lies. He can’t do anything about your identity and position in Christ, but if he can deceive you into believing that it isn’t true, then you will live as though it isn’t.

As a young lad on the farm we had a neighbor who had a yappy little dog that scared the socks off me. My dad, brother, and myself would visit our neighbor in our pickup truck. As soon as I stepped out of the cab, that mean little dog came running after us, and I ran. I climbed up on top of the cab, looking down at the ornery little critter who was still barking at me. My dad and brother were standing nearby scratching their heads. The dog wasn’t even noticing them.

Then one day I decided to stand my ground. As we approached the farm I started to sense the fear, but this time I kicked a rock at the little beast and he ran. What power did that stupid little mutt have over me? Only what I gave it! How did he manage to get me up on top of that pickup cab? He used my mind, my emotions, and my muscles.

Dr. Neil

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