Question:

I was wondering why certain thoughts are coming to my mind. Is it possible that Satan could put thoughts into a person's mind to try to get them to sin, doubt, or think bad thoughts about God and the Holy Spirit? I've read different articles saying that it is not scriptually proven that he can, but does it have to be in the Bible (Satan's activities) in order for it to be so? Just wanted your opinion. Thanks


Answer:

Solomon points out in I Kings 8:39 and II Chronicles 6:30 that only God knows the hearts of men. It is a characteristic of deity and it is one of the reasons we know that Jesus is God because he knew the hearts or thoughts of his audience.

But Satan is not God. If he cannot see into the minds of men, then it follows he is not able to insert thoughts into men either. All the way through the Bible we find Satan tempting mankind by manipulating the situation men find themselves in and by encouraging men to consider sinful things by playing on man's desires (James 1:13-16).

If it were true that Satan could make a person think wicked thoughts by placing the thoughts there directly, then it would mean that people with wicked thoughts aren't responsible. It would be Satan's choice and not their own. But evil comes from with a man, from his thoughts (Mark 7:21-23), and the individual is responsible for his sins (Romans 3:23).

Satan cannot make you sin. He tempts you to sin. He makes sin look alluring and fun. But he cannot force you. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

Oh! That makes sense. But, my issue is that there are unwanted thoughts that stream up into my mind that I cannot explain where they are coming from. They just all of a sudden come and they are hard to shake. The thoughts are blasphemous, as I spoke with you before, but it seems that the enemy wants me to speak blasphemies. I have never actually said anything against the Holy Spirit, but I hate these thoughts! I am saved and I notice that one of my biggest issues is fear. Could this be the enemy playing off of that fear to make me feel that because these unwanted thoughts have ran through my mind, I should just give up on God? Am I responsible for them although I hate them and don't believe these horrible thoughts?

Let's start with a basic concept about how our minds work. Your mind doesn't process one thing at a time. Different sections are working on different or related problems all at the same time. Your visual section is processing and identifying images that you see, your auditory section is dividing sounds into words, your memory is working to recall where you saw something similar to that before, etc. All of this takes communications between the various sections.

Most people are not aware of this. They only perceive the very top level of decision making. But some people "overhear" the internal communication. The cause is not known, but it can be very disturbing for the person. For some, those internal messages are perceived to be words heard, but there is no one there. Others perceive the internal communications as someone sitting in judgment on their thoughts and actions. Whatever the cause, it is not fun if you don't realize what is happening.

There is a section of your brain that makes decisions regarding the rightness and wrongness of particular actions. Of course a part of its input are the concepts of what is wrong. I won't be surprised if you are "overhearing" your memory dredging up information about things you shouldn't do.

The fact that your conclusion is that it is wrong is the important part. Consider it to be similar to temptation. You can't control the fact that you get tempted. We can't restrict Satan's actions. But we can control our reaction or decision about the temptation. You can't control the unbidden thoughts, but you are controlling your response -- and that is the important thing.