About a year ago, I was having the roughest time mentally and emotionally and to be honest, it’s been a back and forth ever since. When I first began experiencing the intensity of the enemy’s attack on my mind and emotions, I’d felt so paralyzed in my purpose and the person I knew God said I am was slipping away. I was getting ready to leave the house and the Lord, in the simplest, kindest yet firm voice said, “You know Maria, you have given the devil a pulpit in your heart, and at some point, you’re going to have to dethrone him.” I stopped in my tracks. How accurate.
A pulpit is a raised platform from which a person speaks. The place from where the preacher delivers the sermon. That’s who the devil had become to me. The enemy had an elevated position, and as he preached to me, I allowed him to. I sat down and took notes. I said ‘amen’ and applied what he said into my daily life.
As a man thinketh so is he. Proverbs 23:7.
All it takes is a seed planted into the mind that when meditated on when marinated in our hearts influence who we become in the physical. The enemy had been coaching me. On how to see me. How I saw others. How I thought others saw me. His sermons had infiltrated my thoughts.
I had been feeling really tossed around by the enemy, in Swahili we say ‘pepeta,‘ and I grew up using this word to describe a football player kicking a ball around and doing all these tricks. I felt like that football at the mercy of the enemy. I’d had the enemy constantly whispering so many lies in my ear. And whatever he would say to me, I’d say to myself. I’d take it as truth.
Pepeta also translates to sift.
“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has demanded permission to sift [all of] you like grain; but I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter], that your faith [and confidence in Me] may not fail . Luke 22:31-33
In some scenarios I’d hear the enemy so clearly, ‘See?! See what I told you?’ ‘That’s why this is happening.’ ‘God’s still punishing you for all those years’ ‘If you hadn’t done this, this wouldn’t be happening.’
And I’d go down this rabbit trail of past mistakes and how different life would be if I had followed God when I was younger, and I found myself envious and so bitter towards people who hadn’t colossally messed up their lives as I had. Their ‘clean’ testimonies felt like jabs. I hated my past. I hated my testimony. I hated how much pain and failure it took to get here.
I sat and put on worship and wept. Feeling sorry for myself. Poor Maria. Pitiful Maria. What a loser. What a failure. I couldn’t see God in things, because I’d given the enemy so much airtime. I’d granted him a full-blown pulpit and had allowed him to preach to my mind day in and day out and consequently, my actions, emotions, things I cowered from or approached were all based on fears, defeat, shame, anxiety instilled by the enemy.
There’s a place for counselors, pastors, leaders, friends, and family stepping in when you are struggling, and I’ve had all these amazing people be used by God for me to bring continual deliverance and healing. But there’s a place where you will have to make a decision. I felt myself sinking one night, and I knew no one in my inner circle was awake to call. But you know who was awake? God.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you’re going to have to pull out the Word and give the pulpit back to the Lord and let the Holy Spirit minister to your heart and mind. Sometimes, it will just be you and the Lord. You’ll lead yourself into your own altar call. You’ll have to encourage yourself in the Lord, as David did (1 Samuel 30:6).
King of my heart has always been one of my bawling songs ( I’m sure you have that ONE song that knocks you out). I sat meditating on the lyrics of this song. Yes! He IS King of my heart.
And King over my mind. My emotions. My thoughts. My imaginations.
The next few songs on my playlist were so pivotal to my perspective change in that moment.
“Let your promises be my oxygen, let the dark know I believe. When the doubt begins, that’s where you step in. Break these chains for I am free.”
“And I need to be reminded; I belong to you. The enemy can’t, take what I have, change who I am. I belong to you. Greater are you who is in me. Then he whose in the world. The words that you have spoken are stronger than the curse.”
At some point, you’ll need to learn the importance of echoing the King’s decrees over yourself. You will learn to let the enemy know he can’t play with your mind anymore. With your emotions. With your joy. He can’t dictate who you will become. You will learn to stand on Divine law. To put your trust in heavenly promises. And speak those scriptures out loud to yourself. Over and over. Meditate on those words over and over. To the point, the Truth seeps into your very bones. Scriptures evict the enemy. The Word of God is the authority believers. The cross has the final say. Jesus had the final word.
I learned to replace the enemy’s sermons with my ‘five stones’ picked up from rivers of living water that I will continue to fling at the enemy any time he comes at my heart and mind. I learned to take my stand; to reclaim the pulpit and take captive every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of who God is and who He says I am (2 Corinthians 10:5)
At some point, YOU take back the mic and take back your authority. And say to the enemy:
You don’t have the qualifications to minister to me. You’re a false teacher. False preacher. False prophet. You are an accuser. A liar. A deceiver. You don’t have permission to speak to who I am. As a child of God. As a sister, daughter, friend, partner, colleague, leader, writer, business profession, creative. You can’t drag me back into my past. You can’t dictate my present. You can’t tell me who I will be in the future.
Here are my five smooth stones. Here are my five go-to sermons. What will your five be, next time the enemy tries to access your mind and heart?
1.I am a child of God. But those who embraced him and took hold of his name were given authority to become the children of God! John 1:12 (TPT) 2. Jesus is POWER; His name is Faithful and True. My past is washed away. He rides in a robe dipped in blood so that I can ride into heaven spotless. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who was riding it is called Faithful and True (trustworthy, loyal, incorruptible, steady), and in righteousness, He judges and wages war [on the rebellious nations]. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many royal crowns, and He has a name inscribed [on Him] which no one knows or understands except Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in [f]blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Rev 19:11-13 3. God will use all my mistakes. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. 4. Jesus has the victory over the enemy Then Jesus made a public spectacle of all the powers and principalities of darkness, stripping away from them every weapon and all their spiritual authority and power to accuse us. And by the power of the cross, Jesus led them around as prisoners in a procession of triumph. He was not their prisoner; they were his! Colossians 2:15 (TPT) 5. I am LOVED by God. Deeply. I am fully known. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was being formed in secret, And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written, The days that were appointed for me, When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape]. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. Psalm 139:15-18