Questions and Answers


QUESTION:

Can the devil read our minds? Does he know what we are thinking?


ANSWER:

No, the devil doesn’t know what we are thinking. But, the Bible tells us that God knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:23; Isa. 66:18; Matt. 9:4;)….

Psalms 139:23 (NASB) 23Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; (Emphasis mine)

Isaiah 66:18 (NASB) 18“For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. (Emphasis mine)

Matthew 9:4 (NASB) 4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? (Emphasis mine) (Jesus’ Words in red)

….but it never attributes this kind of knowledge to the devil. In fact, the legendary preacher and Bible teacher A. W. Tozer used to say that he would sometimes talk out loud to the devil, reminding him that our sins have been forgiven upon the basis of the merits of the Lord Jesus the Messiah. This is precisely why it is necessary to communicate with the devil and his minions verbally—because they cannot read our minds.

The Bible says that the shalom (peace) of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (KJV, “keep”) our hearts and minds through Jesus the Messiah. (Phil.4:7). Is it possible that the devil has access to something that is kept and guarded by God Himself? I don’t think so.

Perhaps the confusion on this question arises from the fact that the devil has the ability to submit thoughts to us for our consideration (see the comments about “fiery darts,” or flaming arrows, in Ephesians 6:16).

Ephesians 6:16 (NASB) 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

However, we have the ability and the authority through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, either to accept or to reject those thoughts. In the imagery of the Ephesians passage, we protect ourselves from those flaming arrows with the shield of faith. The very fact that these kinds of satanic attacks (e.g., temptations, evil and confusing thoughts) are described as originating externally, and as assailing our minds like flaming arrows, clearly indicates that the devil doesn’t have access to our minds internally.

Don’t give the devil more credit than he deserves. He is not omnipresent or omnipotent like God. His powers are limited. He is a finite, created being and can only be in one place at any given point in time. Very few of us will ever receive a personal visit from the devil. Most of our temptations and spiritual battles arise from our own sinful nature rather than from direct encounters with the devil or with demons ( James 1:12-14).

James 1:12-14 (NASB) 12Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

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