The mind is a mysterious thing, and is very tricky territory. The devil is able to affect the body in very convincing ways, but he is also able to influence your thoughts. Sometimes it is very obvious (in retrospect), as when you are literally hearing a voice. More often, he inserts himself into your thoughts without your knowledge. This can take the form of what I call “thought matching.” For example, I write a lot of poetry and journal entries. I would write a poem, and then get in the car to go to the store. A song would come on the radio with a line that exactly matched one from my poem. At the time, I was so amazed by these synchronicities! I had no idea that the devil was shaping my writing. I thought that everything I wrote came just from me, but the devil was matching my thoughts to the song that he knew would be playing.
I have many reasons to believe that the devil is aware of future events. For example, when I closed my eyes at night, he caused me to see images from the television on the following day. He uses this ability to show us “signs and wonders.” If you are unfortunate enough to witness these signs and wonders, do not be impressed. Though the sign may seem amazing, these things are not difficult for the devil to orchestrate. I don’t believe that God or Jesus will perform these tricks and signs. We are asked simply to have faith in God. We crave evidence, and we long to experience God, but we need to be satisfied with faith alone.
The devil uses his ability to whisper thoughts into our heads to make us think something amazing is happening. This happens all the time when someone says something to you and it appears as if she is “reading your thoughts.” I went to a well-known psychic once, and she verbalized specific things about my past lives that I had “sensed” on my own in the years prior. The devil is very good at this type of thought matching. He can affect what you think and say so that it matches with other people’s thoughts. He can trick the psychic and tell her what to say. He can affect all of our thoughts to stir up trouble. When I am at family gatherings or in large groups of people, I can often see how he creates conflict by pitting people against each other. Sometimes I am amazed at the words coming out of my own mouth! Often these words are suggested to us without our knowledge.
The devil is the master of division and separation. He loves to break up marriages, and separate people however he can. The outrageous things that people say to each other—and do to each other—are often at the suggestion of the devil. Yet, we are still responsible for what we say and do. Mistakes are complicated, but we must still face the consequences of our actions. We must humble ourselves and apologize when we make a mistake. It is so important not to identify with every thought that comes into your head. Just because you think it does not make it a good idea. We should habituate ourselves to pause before we speak, to consider the source of some of these ideas that pop into our heads. Beware of thoughts that seem negative or critical—of yourself or of others. These thoughts are often placed in our minds by the devil and his demons.
Just because we are Christians does not mean the devil stays away from us. He does not shy away from us just because we hate him, or think that he does not exist. He will try to weasel himself into our minds and our lives no matter what we believe. It takes a constant vigilance to keep him at bay. He is also oddly patient. He will relax his assault for months or years, and wait until you forget about him. Then he will come back with a vengeance to try to tear your life apart.