Discerning the Enemy
Overcoming Shame and Blame
This teaching on overcoming shame and blame is just one lesson of our free eCourse for personal transformation, 'Matters of the Heart.' All 24 lessons will be helpful to the person seeking restoration and freedom.
All scripture citations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
The Power of Secret Suggestions
If the Lord were the only 'outsider' dropping thoughts into us, our lives would be so much simpler, but there is another kingdom speaking to us, seeking to bring us into agreement with its ways of thinking and acting upon the earth. One of the strategies of that other kingdom is to make its thoughts seem like our own thoughts or God's thoughts - so that wrong thoughts will go unrecognized. Therefore, there is a great need on our part to learn to discern these hidden ways of the enemy and to recognize his voice (the fourth Kingdom key).
This stronghold of accusation comes early in this sequence of lessons on strongholds because the voice of the Accuser came on the scene early in the Garden and early in our own lives as well. Be on guard! To the one being deceived the condemning thoughts never seem like accusations suggested by an invisible enemy: They always seem like truth-telling about God, self or others coming from our own reasoning process.
Paul said that the Early Church was no longer 'ignorant of his devices' concerning the enemy and his ways. We need to make sure those same lights have been turned on for us! For instance, the 'voice' of the Accuser has both a content of accusing words and an oppressive tone in the way those thoughts are formed - a nagging pressure beating down, but never building up. The Holy Spirit doesn't speak that way.
The writer of Hebrews says that our discernment grows as our 'senses,' not just our minds, are trained by 'reason of use.' Let your spiritual senses, as well as your intellect, become fine-tuned at recognizing the difference. This can only come with time and the Holy Spirit's help, but don't worry, you are certain to have plenty of opportunities for practice!
How the Enemy Uses Accusation
Many incurable sicknesses are rooted in the areas of separation that accusation produces between God, self and others. Such 'stress fractures' break down the body's health over time just as their physical counterparts do material structures in the natural world.
Accusation is also a block to healing because it invariably leads to bitterness which blocks both healing and answered prayer. Speaking in a condemning way against the Lord's anointed servants also brings severe consequences. Scratch the surface and you will likely find that accusations lie behind all of the deeply implanted false beliefs which cause mental illness, addictions and stress related diseases. Clearly, this is a major realm of the enemy's operations.
Satan and his kingdom deceive, tempt, destroy and accuse. Every time the enemy seeks to tempt us into agreement with his ways by deceptive thoughts, he is also seeking to divide us from our sources of life and strength, and by so doing, destroy us. Accusation is dangerous precisely because it is so divisive - it is the enemy coming between us and God.
Accusations isolate us by separating us from others and by drawing us away from the peace of Christ. The fruit of accusation can include doubt, confusion, turmoil, fear, suspicion, jealousy, bitter judgment, and a whole lot more. The Accuser divides by using truth with a twist in ways that are hard to recognize and seem very convincing. He works to separate us:
1) From God, His Word or His Person
2) From our true self, as God see us
3) From others, as God sees them
Accusation and condemnation are the exact opposite of what God is doing through Christ. Paul says that God neither accuses, nor condemns us. His desire is for the one in sin to be gently restored. Until death comes, there is always hope for restoration to God and separation from sins through repentance, grace and faith. We are meant to keep Jesus' hard won victory and heaven's hope-filled perspective in our hearts towards everyone.
So let's settle this once and for all: Accusation and condemnation come from the enemy - not God. Satan measures out his criticisms and charges with just enough apparent truth to hook us - but he always twists our thoughts away from God's perspective of love and mercy. His activity is described as unrelenting and unceasing. 'Radio Satan' is always 'on the air.' Recognizing what's playing and changing channels, will carry us a long way towards overcoming shame and blame.
Back to the Scene of the Crime
Let's review how accusation got its start. Satan, whose name means 'Adversary,' began with accusations against God's Word in the Garden. Adam and Eve were drawn away from trusting God and fell into separation from God and spiritual death along with it. Although they did not realize it, they now had a new father - the devil - whose nature entered them and whose own image and ways were beginning to distort the Image of God they carried.
When the Lord returned to find them, He said something astonishing to Adam: 'Who told you that you were naked?' God's question to Adam was meant to open his eyes to see that the Accuser was still speaking to him, no longer through the snake, but through Adam's own thought processes.
Under the pressure of inward condemnation, Adam accused Eve of being the reason he chose to sin. His words also carried a veiled accusation against God for giving Eve to him in the first place. Then Eve joined in by accusing the serpent, thus trying to shift blame from herself to the source of her temptation. By one fell swoop the Accuser succeeded in subverting humanity to do his work of accusation for him and they were completely unaware of his instigation!
Now zoom forward to see how accusation went global. Having established his kingdom through such slight devices of accusation in the Garden, the enemy handily expanded his operations to cover the earth. John on Patmos was given a vision of the Accuser as no longer being a lowly serpent, but a mighty dragon.
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world - he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. Revelation 12:9-10
Notice that salvation, strength, Kingdom and power come when this formidable enemy is cast down.The choice is before us: Will we serve the Accuser or will we make a quality decision to cast down all accusations that try to rise up within us against God, self or others? Let the voice from the Garden become silenced. Turn off 'radio Satan' and live in the Kingdom!
Recognize Accusing Thoughts
Accusation is a counterfeit of the true knowledge of God, a wrong use of genuine discernment. The Holy Spirit may indeed allow us to see sin in another person or one's self, but a spirit of accusation will seek to turn it into bitter judgments that bind the person to their sin and separate us from them.
Learn to recognize the voice of the Accuser - the way self-condemnation speaks to you or the way offended self-righteousness seeks to speak through you to others. We are indeed called to discern good and evil, but one of the greatest evils is to accuse or judge another.
Seek to be aware of where your thoughts are coming from. Check the source! Godly thoughts come from God's Word, other people (speaking by the Spirit), the Holy Spirit and our renewed mind. Accusing thoughts come from the world, other people (speaking by the enemy), an accusing spirit or our un-renewed mind.
We are meant to cast down 'every high thing that exalts itself' against God Accusation is a 'high thing' because it elevates us above others in judgment of them and because it 'exalts itself' within us against God's direct command to stop doing it. Overcoming shame and blame can only happen if we recognize these high thoughts as coming from the enemy.
Learn to discern and cast down even your unvoiced accusations against God (anger, unbelief, discouragement); against others (judgments, un-forgiveness, slander); and against self (condemnation, shame, regret). Instead, join with Jesus in continual intercession. There is always room for one more on the Mercy Seat!
Join with Jesus in continual intercession
Father, help me truly repent of all the accusing thoughts I have cherished towards others and all of the hurtful accusing words I have spoken. Forgive me and break the power of what I have done in agreement with the Accuser and help all those get free of any pain I have caused. Grant that I would become an intercessor for, not an accuser of others. As I become more of a grace-giver who shows mercy to others, may Your mercy capture my heart even where my own sins and sinfulness are concerned. Teach me how to 'look up' and let even my failings springboard me into greater joy in the saving love that is streaming to me from Your throne of grace.
Next Healing Lesson
Overcoming the stronghold of anger and bitterness
Interested in Going Deeper?
Don't just give these truths a 'head bob' - take our free eCourse for Healing. For further study and for help working these truths into your heart and life, see Discerning the Enemy Part 2 (Head to Heart Guide 1). In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!