This is the third installment on the topic of self-limiting beliefs I prefer to call strongholds.
In the spiritual sense, the enemy Satan can be the author of such thoughts. I say "can be" because we have free will and live in a culture that also influences us to think wrongly for ourselves.
Still, the Devil is behind a lot of wrong thinking habits so easily adopted. He sends his demonic workers to whisper discouraging words and lies into the ears of believers and nonbelievers alike.
SATAN IS CLEVERLY DISGUISED
Satan is clever in disguising his activities so that someone else gets the blame. Sometimes we shift the blame to ourselves. He tricks us into using "I" statements, such as "I'm good for nothing." Why? So that we become confused as to the truth of the statement--after all, shouldn't we believe what our own minds tell us?
Lying words and concepts become strongholds when or if we believe them. They hinder us when they become obsessive or oppressive. We might be under the power of a stronghold and not even realize it.
Peter was under the influence of the Liar in Matthew 16. Jesus had begun to explain to his disciples he would be returning to Jerusalem where he would suffer and die. But Peter protested. One version of the Bible says Peter rebuked Jesus insisting it would never happen.
I could see myself saying something similar to what Peter did, out of a desire to be encouraging. But Jesus was not impressed. Instead he said, "Get behind me Satan. You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Pay very close attention here. Peter was one of Jesus "followers". Yes, the enemy can use other believers to deliver wrong messages to us.
I've been at the receiving end of such wrong messages, have you? A few times have been as a result of a person skipping the step of getting to know enough about me to see life from my perspective before giving criticism.
We often received out of turn advice from other people's perspectives, just as Jesus received out of turn advice from Peter's, or as he puts it, a "human" perspective.
Advice given from these other perspectives might clearly be wrong, no matter how professional or learned the person is.
When I've received advice I have questions about, I've felt anger. I tend to resent misguided advice I that is off base for me.
Jesus knew Peter's advice was wrong for him. Perhaps Jesus got angry because He didn't appreciate such deep matters being balked at. I don't think Peter gave Jesus the response He craved. Perhaps he wanted compassion or, at least, acknowledgement of what He was explaining.
We might believe that it was the Devil that inspired Peter's response to Jesus because Jesus didn't attack Peter, he attacked the source of Peter's words--Satan. The Message version of the Bible suggests Jesus told the enemy to "Get lost."
Before we return to decipher the list of strongholds, let's be clear. When we hear thoughts that are not empowering, we must attack the author--Satan. Tell him to get lost!
If there is someone in your life continuously feeding you misguided advice, don't let them become a stronghold in your life!