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How Satan hijacks our minds

Practice/ Spiritual
Jesus describes Satan as a thief. Thieves cannot steal from us or break into our homes when we remain alert. Satan is only able to steal from us when we let our guard down. Here are some ways he will hijack our minds and blind us to his tactics.


John 10:10 ESV  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Jesus used another analogy of a thief that manages to break into a house because the homeowner failed to stay awake and keep watch. As disciples of Jesus, we need to take our Saviour’s warnings seriously. Otherwise, we will be like unbelievers who are unable to perceive the glory of God in our lives. See Symptoms of mental strongholds.

Matthew 24:43 ESV  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Different ways the thief hijacks our minds

There are different ways that thief operate. Here are different forms of theft.

1. The pickpocket tactic – Create mental distractions

Snatch thieves and pickpockets steal when their victims are looking elsewhere. They often intentionally create decoys to draw our attention away. Similarly, Satan will fill our minds with many distracting thoughts that pull us away from thinking about God.

Worldly decoys – We are presented with many things that promise to entertain, enhance, and satisfy us. We can spend so much time chasing dazzling worldly ideas and images that we neglect to fortify our minds with God’s Word or worse, take our eyes off God altogether. (Matthew 6:22) Also, see How Satan camouflages his deceptions.

Fear – Another type of distraction is fear. Our minds go round and round in loops of “what if’s”. We worry and prepare for the worst, instead of going to God, our Protector, and Provider with our fears and our needs. Our minds are so consumed by worrying and planning that a thief like Satan can slip in and out without much notice. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Confusion – Our minds are also successfully hijacked when Satan floods our minds with so many different ideas that we feel like our thoughts are being tossed around in the sea, until we learn to be still and focus on God alone. (John 10:27-28)

Matthew 6:22 ESV  “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…

John 10:27-28 ESV  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

2. The hacker tactic – Bypass the mind’s security system

Security systems that fail to operate also provide good loopholes for thieves to break in.

System overload – Satan will bombard us with many reminders of things we can, need or ought to do. When we overload ourselves and fail to rest, our mental capacities also suffer. God calls us to rest in Him and allow Him to restore and strengthen us. Satan will try to keep our mental systems fatigued and stressed. (1 Peter 5:10)

Cyber-terrorism – The Holy Spirit gives us a mind filled with His power and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7) Satan, a spiritual terrorist, will try to hack into and take over our mental systems, to destroy it with darkness and mental illnesses. As believers, our minds must be given over to Jesus at all times so that we are filled with His power and self-control.

Unauthorised access – Satan gains control over our minds when we put down our guard to enter trance-like states through new age meditation, chanting or hypnotism. We shut down our conscious minds and leave our subconscious minds open to all sorts of spiritual influences. It is similar to when a security system is down and hackers secretly enter a network totally undetected. Believers who have opened their minds to spiritual hackers will find their minds “dulled” or distracted, unable to absorb God’s Word, or hear from His Holy Spirit. They may also begin to experience unusual dreams. As believers, we must consciously control our minds and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” at all times, rather than subconsciously open our minds to other influences. (1 Peter 4:7). Also, see Chanting dulls the mind, Meditation can corrupt, and Hypnotism hijacks our mind

1 Peter 5:10 ESV  … the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Deuteronomy 28:15,28 ESV  “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind,

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

John 8:12 ESV Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

1 Peter 4:7 ESV  The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

3. The inside job tactic – Disguise lies as truth

Inside jobs are done by thieves that make you believe that they are on the same side as you, but who will then embezzle your money and rob you before your very eyes. In the same way, Satan will deceive us into thinking that we are following Jesus and then lure us into following “deceitful spirits and teachings of demons“.

1 Timothy 4:1 ESV  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

False confidences – When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert the second time, he quoted God’s Word perfectly and then twisted its intention. Jesus was not misled because He not only knew God’s Word well – but also His will and intentions. Unlike Jesus, many believers have been duped into believing teachings from the Bible that been twisted into “lies so clever they sound like the truth“. Some of these lies are based on mad-made ideas and historical church traditions rather than God’s will or intentions. We must test everything we have been taught by studying God’s Word thoroughly and obeying His Holy Spirit. (1 John 4:1)

Matthew 15:8-9 NLT  These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'”

Matthew 15:3 ESV  He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

Ephesians 4:14 NLT  Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

1 John 4:1 ESV  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

5. The scammer tactic – Deceive us into fraudulent schemes

Scammers defraud people by targeting our weakest points of gullibility and deceive us into exchanging something that is much more valuable than what they give us in return.

Fraudulent schemes – Satan is a spiritual fraud. He will trick and scam us into worshipping him or performing idolatrous rituals, by deceiving us into thinking that we have found “the best deal”. Things go as expected until the thief reveals the fraud at the end and we are left with nothing. Another fraudulent scheme that Satan uses is to deceive believers into doing lots of good works that don’t lead them to God at the end. Jesus warned us long ago to worship God alone and serve Him only. (Luke 4:18)

Ecclesiastes 7:29 ESV  This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Luke 4:8 ESV  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

6. The triad tactic – Use intimidation and blackmail to torture our minds

Triads blackmail and intimidate people into giving over their rights and possessions. Similarly, Satan will also use bully tactics, if we let him.

Blackmail – Satan subjects us to emotional blackmail against believers by accusing us of not being up to God’s standards. He harasses us with shameful memories and painful accusations. Jesus came to save us, not to condemn us. When we are not grounded in God’s Word, we will start to believe such terrible lies. Eventually, we will be tempted to give up our rich spiritual inheritance as a result of such bullying. (John 3:17)

Pain and torture – Sometimes, Satan will use sickness and painful events to cause us to doubt God’s goodness. Real and perceived pain can cause some believers to renounce their faith and beliefs altogether. Only those who do not forsake God and endure past the pain will gain eternal salvation. (Matthew 24:12-13)

John 3:17 ESV  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Romans 8:1 ESV  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

John 6:60-61,66 ESV  When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? … After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 

Matthew 24:12-13 ESV  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Safeguards against the thief that hijack our minds

This world will lure believers with many alternative patterns of thinking. To protect our minds and safeguard the salvation that Jesus has paid with His life for us, we need to renew our minds based on God’s Word alone. Jesus tells us to seek His kingdom and follow His will so that we will “lay up treasures in heaven where thieves do not break in and steal.” See Renewing the spirit of our minds.

Romans 12:2 ESV  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Matthew 6:19-20 ESV  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

As long as we continue to submit to God, we will not be easily distracted by things of this world and become blind to Satan’s tactics.  There is no reason to be outwitted by a thief when we are familiar with his wicked schemes.

James 4:7 ESV  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV  so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.


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