Saturday, February 3, 2018
Can the devil and others know your thoughts?
Can the devil and others know your thoughts?
Question 1: Can the devil and others know my thoughts?
Answer 1: 1 Corinthians 2:11 says: “For who among men knows the thoughts (things) of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts (things) of God no one knows except the Spirit of God”. So the first part of the verse clarifies that no other man can know our thoughts, not even a Psychiatrist!
In fact, when patients comes to me with the psychotic symptom of ‘thought broadcasting’ (one of the first rank symptoms of schizophrenia) or ‘thought diffusion’, (where they believe that all their thoughts can be known to others), I point them to this verse and seek to console them (according to their receptiveness) that it is not possible.
Devil is also a created being, and we can infer that he also cannot know our thoughts, but can at the most guess our thoughts from our words, actions, facial expressions, gestures etc, just like human beings also can guess!
Question 2: Why has God kept our thought realm so private to us?
Answer 2: Of course, thought realm is a completely private area the Lord has entrusted us, which we as well as the Lord only (not even the angels) can know. So, that is why, our faithfulness in the thought realm is a real proof of our true devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, which is possible only through a continuous fullness of the Holy Spirit!
One day our Lord will bring to light not only our thoughts, but also our whole private life hidden from other people (that is, our private deeds plus thoughts) (See 1Corinthians 4: 5; Revelation 20:11). 1Corinthians 4: 5 also says that the Lord will expose even our motives (behind our apparently good deeds) also that day.
This, if we believe, will instill a healthy, reverential fear of the Lord in our hearts (See 2 Corinthians 5: 10, 11). As Br Zac Poonen says, that reverential fear is not a fear whether the Lord will hurt (punish) us, but rather a fear out of love and respect, whether we will hurt the Lord with our attitudes, motives, thoughts, words or deeds.
The only way to cleanse everything unChristlike in our life instead of being displayed that day at the judgement seat of Christ, is the blood of Christ, through genuine, deep repentance (1 John 1:9).
Question 3: If so, should we not verbalize our doubts, worries, fears and feelings lest the devil hear them?
Answer 3: We should not verbalize our fears, doubts and worries to every Tom, Dick and Harry, but we can certainly verbalize them to the Lord and to those people in whom we have confidence that they can help us, like our spiritual mentors, counselors etc.
In fact, as we verbalize to the right people, we are unburdening and ventilating ourselves and can be significantly relieved. We, Psychiatrists, always encourage our clients to ventilate their feelings by speaking out, crying out, drawing pictures, writing diary, etc.
Some people with closer walk with the Lord, may not need this kind of ventilation, as they have learned over the years to cast even their tiny burdens directly unto the Lord (1 Peter 5: 7). But if we teach people not to verbalize their feelings, that would suffocate and pressurize and strain many innocent ones and exacerbate their worries and anxieties eventually.
Question 4: Some people say: “Speak positive. Speak life. Speak your destiny, whatever the situation is”. What do you say?
Answer 4: We need to confess words of faith and hope (See Romans 10: 9, 10; Hebrews 10: 23). We need to confess in faith the eternal promises of God like:
“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6: 14);
The Lord Himself said: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13: 5);
“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 6);
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 13) etc.
It is the Word of God that we should confess in faith, not our selfish greed for more wealth and prosperity (unlike what many TV preachers teach), for which there are no promises in the New Testament. Truth, when it is taken to unbiblical extremes, becomes a heresy. There comes the hollowness of the so-called “word of faith” movement (See https://www.gotquestions.org/Word-Faith.html ).
Our words should build up others spiritually and impart grace to those who hear (See Ephesians 4: 29). But such words can come only from a heart filled with the grace of God through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12: 34, 35; Hebrews 13: 9). The Lord commands us to “do all things without grumbling or complaining” (Philippians 2: 14). But grumbling and complaining are different from verbalizing our feelings to the Lord and to our mentors and counselors.
Question 5: Is there any benefit if we just praise the Lord when we feel sad?
Answer 5: Of course, praising the Lord even when we don’t like feel like, shifts our focus from ourselves to the Lord and help us receive His grace all the more! But let that praise come not just from our lips, but from our hearts through the lips…