Bad Thoughts

Hearing one or more voices may seem foreign to you, but that does not mean that you are not experiencing a spiritual battle for your mind. Have you ever come to a cliff or stood on a tall building and suddenly had an impulsive thought to jump? Have you ever struggled with negative thoughts like: I’m no good. God doesn’t love me. How can God love me? I’m different from others. It may sound like self-talk, but do you want to talk to yourself that way? If you didn’t consciously choose to think that thought, then where did it come from?

A lady I took through the Steps to Freedom made a little card for herself that she kept with her all the time. On the card it said, “Where did that thought come from? A loving God?” It was her way of reminding herself to not pay attention to anything that is not true. A psychologist friend shared with me that for three of his five years in his doctoral program he struggled with an impulsive thought. Every time that he was talking to another person with a cup of coffee in his hand he had a compulsive thought to throw the coffee in the other person’s face. He never did it of course, but it did cause him some consternation for three years. What kind of a Christian am I if I want to throw coffee in someone’s face? Being a doctoral student in a psychology program only added to his quandary. He can laugh about it now, because now he knows where that thought came from, but he didn’t then. I had an inquirer say to me, after I handed her a cup of coffee, “You wouldn’t give me that cup of coffee if you knew what I was thinking right now!”

The first four years that I went public with this ministry, I would conclude the “Living Free in Christ” conference by leading them through the Steps To Freedom. The first night at I stepped to the podium and a “thought” came to my mind that couldn’t have been any clearer if a person in front of me had said it out loud. There is a gun pointed at your head! If that thought was from God, I should duck. Imagine how that would have been received if the one taking them through the Steps was ducking to avoid imaginary bullets. I must confess that I did slowly look around the first time it happened before I realized where it was coming from. That happened every time I led a group through the Steps for four straight years, and then it stopped.

A theologian of some renown attended my conference. He shared afterwards that since the age of 22 whenever he sees a man he looks at their crotch. He said, “I’m not gay. I have a good sexual relationship with my wife.” He asked a doctor about it and received a prescription!! It had bothered him for years, and he often wondered, What is wrong with me? I asked him, “After attending this conference, what are your conclusions?” He said, “There is nothing wrong with me, and I shouldn’t pay any attention to it, and I won’t from now on.”

Dr. Neil

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