Fighting Spiritual Battles: 6 Signs You’re Under Attack

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you aware of the spiritual battles going on in your mind? What are the signs?

In Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer explains that you’re constantly fighting spiritual battles in your mind, whether you realize it or not. She describes several conditions that indicate that your mind is under attack from the devil.

Keep reading to learn how to recognize attacks while you’re fighting spiritual battles.

6 Signs That Our Mind Is Under Attack

Meyer uses the imagery of our mind as a battlefield between positive and negative forces, although she makes it clear that we’re literally fighting spiritual battles. The devil makes it his job to attack our minds with negative thoughts. Our job is to align our minds with the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s positivity.

Since Satan’s attacks on our minds are subtle and prolonged, we need to be on the lookout for evidence that he has infiltrated our thought processes. Meyer identifies six “conditions” (we call them signs) that our mind is out of balance with the Holy Spirit and under attack from the devil.

Sign 1: Our Mind Is Unfocused

An unfocused mind causes us to miss the opportunity for a positive life right now.

The devil attacks our minds by preventing us from focusing and by causing our minds to wander. When our minds can’t focus, we can miss what is happening around us and lose opportunities to connect with God and other people in a positive way. For example, we may miss important messages from God during a sermon or scripture reading if our mind wanders off, or we may lose an opportunity for meaningful conversation if we can’t focus on what the other person is saying.

Sign 2: Our Mind Is Full of Uncertainty

A mind that cannot accept uncertainty will be made miserable by life’s unanswered questions, which are part of God’s plan.

Meyer explains that Satan uses “reasoning” to sow seeds of uncertainty in our minds. When our mind is engaged in reasoning, it looks for the logic, or the “why,” behind what we experience. While this curiosity is part of human nature, Meyer cautions that reasoning that leads to confusion has gone “too far.” If we find ourselves reasoning to the point where we’re questioning God’s teachings or our faith, Meyer explains that our search for logic has become a tool for the devil.

Sign 3: Our Mind Is Full of Doubt

Doubt can erode our faith in God, ourselves, and our purpose in life.

Meyer explains that the devil attacks our minds by sowing seeds of doubt, which is when we believe in God but lack strong faith. Doubt can make us question our relationship with God and our ability to accomplish our goals. It can make us feel trapped between knowing what our spirit wants to do and what our rational mind believes is possible. For example, we may feel called by God to fulfill a specific purpose in life, but doubt can make us feel like we lack the ability, talent, or strength to see it through.

Sign 4: Our Mind Is Full of Anxiety

Anxiety causes us to waste our time and energy worrying about things we can’t control.

Meyer argues that, if our minds are full of anxiety and worry, it’s a sign we’re under attack from the devil, who uses anxiety and worry to torment us and consume our thoughts with negativity. According to Meyer, worry and anxiety are unproductive emotions that rob us of the present moment, which is a gift from God. She explains that worry and anxiety may begin with seeds planted by the devil, but they are habit-forming. People can get so accustomed to worrying that their minds are constantly looking for something to worry about. Of course, if we’re looking for something to worry about, we’ll certainly find it, even if it means worrying about someone else’s problems.

Sign 5: Our Mind Is Overly Critical

Judging rather than appreciating others hurts our relationships and our happiness by alienating people.

If we find ourselves feeling lonely and unhappy, it may be because Satan is attacking our minds and leading us to sabotage our relationships. Meyer explains that Satan tries to convince us to judge and criticize others, thus alienating people and hurting our relationships. 

No one is perfect, and since we’re all imperfect, Meyer urges us not to worry so much about what is wrong with other people. God can work on our faults with us, and He can work on others’ faults with them. By “minding our own business” when it comes to others’ faults, we can make more progress on our journey with God and leave ourselves less open to the devil’s attacks.

Sign 6: Our Mind Is Complacent

A complacent mind is too passive to cultivate a positive life and too open to Satan’s negative influence.

One of the more subtle ways that the devil can attack our minds and rob us of a positive life is by suppressing our motivation. If we don’t feel like we are achieving our true potential, it may be because the devil has caused our mind to become passive. Meyer describes a passive mind as one that is “lazy” and “apathetic” about its relationship with God, taking that relationship for granted and paying it little attention. She contrasts this with an active mind, which purposefully and effortfully works to cultivate a positive spiritual life.

Be Alert

As we can see from this list, Satan’s attacks manifest in common thoughts and behaviors that most of us either have experienced or experience regularly. If left unexamined, it is unlikely that we would even recognize them as an attack, which makes them dangerous. For this reason, Meyer encourages us to be “active” and “alert” about the thoughts shaping our behavior. If we realize that our words and actions are being informed by negative thoughts like these, it is time to take action.

Blaming the Devil 

Critics have pointed out that blaming the devil for such common thoughts and behaviors as are outlined in this list might be counterproductive for Meyer’s followers while proving financially lucrative for Meyer herself

By placing us all in the middle of a cosmic battle between good and evil, Meyer’s message can diminish our feelings of agency in dealing with our negative emotions. While she argues that we can reject Satan, her imagery of demons constantly “lurking around” ready to wage war against our minds creates nagging anxiety that causes people to return to Meyer’s ministry (and the books and CDs off of which she profits) for “rearmament and reassurance.” Additionally, experts suggest that encouraging people to imagine demons and Satan as an actual presence in our lives can cause them to become more engaged with a “psychic experience” than with their reality. 

Further, critics allege that her theories might cause harm to her followers because blaming such common experiences on the devil ignores the real-world influences that might bring them about. Not only does it discount environmental factors that might cause a person to be unfocused or anxious, for example, but it also discounts the many cognitive and psychological issues that can affect a person’s thinking, such as ADHD, dementia, depression, anxiety, OCD, and many others, which can lead to feelings of complacency, doubtfulness, and being judgmental. 

Her theories also discount the often beneficial effects of some of these “afflictions,” such as allowing your mind to be unfocused, which can allow for creativity to flourish, and thinking rationally, which can counter emotional responses to setbacks. 
Fighting Spiritual Battles: 6 Signs You’re Under Attack

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  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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