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Q. I am a 19 year old guy. I gave my heart to Jesus one year ago. I want to follow Jesus, but some voices in my head are telling me to do wrong things, and won't allow me to pray or read the Bible. Please help me.
A. You have done the right thing, coming to Jesus. That's a great journey you have started, and even though you are facing some tough challenges right at the beginning, it will become easier when you become more familiar with the road and learn how to deal with the twists and turns and ups and downs on the road. Remember you are not the only one on the road. Millions have gone on this road before you and successfully reached their destination. Their experiences can also help you in your journey.
There is someone who has taken note of the fact that you have slipped out of his hands into his enemy's kingdom. That is Satan, and he is very upset with you. He will try all he can to try and take you back. He will use tricks, threats, cheats and direct attacks to make you waver in your resolve to walk with Jesus. For example, many people have noticed that whenever they try to pray or read the Bible their mind starts wandering or they feel sleepy. Why doesn't this happen when they are trying to do other things? When we can understand what Satan is trying, then we can beat him at his game.
Many Christians don't believe there is a real Satan, and think that it is some imaginary thing created by people to frighten others. No, actually Satan is a real person. Once upon a time he was the chief of angels in heaven. But he began to think too much of himself, and wasn't satisfied with his position. He wanted to be God. As a result he was cast out of heaven. It is believed that he managed to influence a third of the angels to join in his rebellion against God, and they were also thrown out with him. They are now called demons. Satan and his demons are now trying to get back at God by attacking His children.
Like angels, demons are also spiritual beings which do not have any form. But sometimes they can appear in forms that we can see, to try and frighten us with hideous forms, or fool us with deceitful forms. But mostly they operate through whispering thoughts in our mind. They slip in these thoughts in such a cunning way that we may think they are our own thoughts! This is the common way they 'tempt' us to do something wrong or make us think along in a wrong direction. If we don't recognise where these thoughts are coming from and reject them, they can ultimately destroy us.
What usually happens is like this. When suggestive thoughts come from the demons and we recognise them, we have the ability to reject them and move on to other thoughts. But if we have given in to these thoughts and acted upon them for a long period of time, they become a part of our normal thinking pattern. Then it becomes more difficult for us afterwards when we try to reject them. Then these suggestive thoughts can appear to be strong voices telling us what to do, and they also come to us with some 'authority' which we have acually granted them by our early indulgences.
But all is not lost even then! Even though these demons act as if they have absolute control over us, we still have the power, in Jesus' name, to to win over them! When Jesus died on the cross one of the things He accomplished was to establish His authority over Satan and all his demons. Now He gives us that same authority in His name. What it means is that when we have become children of God through our faith in Jesus, we now have authority over Satan and his demons which we can exercise in Jesus' name. 'In Jesus' name' means we recognise that we have no authority of our own, but because of our special position with God we can now exercise the authority of Jesus. We express this authority when we pray using the terms, "In the name of Jesus."
This process of exercising authority over demons may have a few stages depending on how much we have given in to them earlier. Let us follow the following simple steps.
- Confess your sins to God. You don't have to struggle to remember every single sin that you have committed, because it is impossible for us to remember them all. But as far you remember, confess them to God (especially those things which bother you as you think about them), and claim forgiveness from Him (1Jn.1:9). Remember that if you do your part--confessing your sins--God will certainly do His part of forgiving you. You don't have to doubt that.
- If you have sinned against other people, decide to apologise to them and set them right (wherever possible) at the earliest opportunity.
- Tell Satan vocally that you are finished with those sins you have been playing around with. Tell him that you renounce all links with those sins, and that you are not going to have anything more to do with them. (It is important to speak to Satan orally because he cannot hear our thoughts; only God can.)
- Now command Satan and all his demons, in the name of Jesus, to leave you alone.
- Pray and ask Jesus to help you to keep close to Him and not to listen to Satan's voice any more.
After this, if these 'voices' come again, turn away to other, better thoughts. Now that you have been strengthened through Jesus, you have the power to reject these voices and turn to other thoughts. Usually they will try to come back and make you believe that they haven't been overcome yet! But you know the truth, and so you assert it to them by turning to other thoughts! You will soon find that the power of these voices is going down fast!
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