“You’re a selfish mom. You’re not a loving wife. You have been struggling with the same things for years. You should have made much more progress by now. You’ve always been like this and you always will be.”
It was often the same types of situations that started these “conversations with myself”. I wanted to do the good and follow Jesus, but I would still get angry with my kids, say unkind things to my husband, or care too much about what other people thought of me. As soon as these things happened, I immediately felt these accusations inside. I was all the time troubled by feelings of guilt and discouragement that there would never be a real change in me. Even though I hated it, I had become used to listening to these thoughts and agreeing with them. I felt powerless and it seemed like God was far away.
I knew that these accusations were not from God, because they did not bring peace or thoughts of a future filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11.) I knew that these thoughts were coming from Satan, who the Bible describes as an “accuser.” (Revelation 12:10.) And I also knew that Satan’s aim was to steal my peace and joy, because he is a thief and a destroyer, who wants to destroy my faith. But I still felt powerless to do anything about it because I felt it was all true. “I know,” I thought. “That’s all true. I can’t. I just can’t be good.”
I knew that there was power in God’s word and in prayer, but when the accuser whispered in my ear, I was bound, and it seemed like it didn’t help to pray. Because my life was so busy, I didn’t read God’s word or pray very much at all. It wasn’t priority for me. Then, when Satan came with his accusations, I had nothing to fight with and I would sit with my thoughts and feelings until I felt totally down and discouraged.
Things become clear
At one point during one of these low times, I decided to search for all the verses I could find about having God near and getting strength and help from Him. The more I read, the clearer it became to me that there are certain things needed for receiving power from God and having Him near. For example, 2 Chronicles 16:9 (GNB): “The LORD keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to Him.” And James 4:7-8 (NCV): “So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. Come near to God, and God will come near to you.”
I had to ask myself, is my heart loyal to God when I choose to listen to the accuser? Have I given myself completely to God and come near to Him with a pure heart when I give in to depressing thoughts about how things have gone in the past? Not even close. The conditions for receiving His strength and help became very clear to me. My heart was not loyal to God. I had been trusting my own feelings and thoughts instead of fully believing in Him and His promises. Instead of spending my time and thoughts seeking His will and finding out what is pleasing to Him, I had spent it talking with the accuser, Satan. I needed to fight to keep my thoughts and heart pure for God in order to receive His power so the accuser would lose his power over me.
I had to be active
Until then I had made excuses about not having enough time, but I made a decision then to spend whatever free time I had in my busy every-day life to read God’s word and to pray. I’ve found that when I’m always seeking His will for me in whatever I say and do, talking with Jesus as my Friend and Helper and praying for others, it becomes a different type of battle. When I have God’s word in my thoughts and I am filled with the Spirit, then I am more awake to the temptations, and I am able to fight against things like impatience, honour-seeking, etc., before I give in to them. God’s word is the weapon that helps me overcome these temptations, that gives me the victory over these temptations. And if I don’t have God’s word, then of course I can’t have the victory.
I’m no longer on the defence, feeling powerless when I see my sin. Even though Satan comes with accusations, I’ve seen that they have no place in my thoughts anymore, and he actually almost never comes with them anymore. I’ve seen he is a liar. Yes, I have a sinful nature in which nothing good lives, as we read in Romans (Chapter 7:18). Even though I am tempted or may have fallen, God’s thoughts for me are to give me a future full of hope. I don’t have to become discouraged and hopeless, because I can ask for forgiveness and get right back up, and pray and believe that it will succeed the next time. If I keep myself close to God and fill myself with His word so that I have something to fight with, then God promises that I will get the victory.
I know that I need to be actively fighting against my sinful nature by spending my time right, seeking God’s will and watching and praying especially in my thoughts. When I come in situations and the Spirit shows me more of the sin in my human nature, I can keep myself close to Him, by obeying His word and keeping my heart pure. By doing this I receive strength from God to overcome the accuser.