It has happened that I've been in the middle of extreme spiritual growth, so joyful in the Lord, so on fire and carefree, and just like that a ridiculous thought will pop into my head and before I know it, it's eating away at my mind, taking up all my thoughts, getting bigger and bigger until I'm robbed of my joy for that day or week, or however long.
THEN, I am busy thinking and being unhappy to continue to enjoy the work that God started in my heart and before I know it, I'm lost in the small picture and not enjoying living in freedom in the Lord, thinking about the bigger picture. All because of one small thought that got bigger and bigger, planted there by the enemy.
This may sound weird to you. Maybe you don't think that Satan is out there preying on people, but I believe it with all my heart. It's wonderful growing in the Lord and experiencing His blessings... but Satan does not mess with people who are stagnant in their faith, the ones who aren't steadily growing. He messes with the ones he views as dangerous to him - the ones who are excited about the Lord. So beware - if you are growing in the Lord and experiencing a mountaintop experience, spiritual warfare may be on its way, and how you protect yourself is to guard your mind!!
Know when a thought comes into your head that's not of the Lord.
FEAR is NOT of the Lord. He won't plant fearful thoughts into your head. Those are from the enemy.
WORRY is not from the Lord.
SPITE is not from the Lord.
SHAME is not from the Lord (Satan will try to constantly remind you of things you have done in your past that you are not proud of, but Jesus has long forgotten them if you have repented. If JESUS can forget it, YOU surely can).
HATRED is not from the Lord.
JEALOUSY is not from the Lord.
These are from Satan. Banish these thoughts and focus on things OF the Lord - loving others, helping others, His promises that you find in Scripture...
Do not confuse Satan's attacks with everyday trials - not EVERYTHING bad that happens in your life is an attack from the enemy. Sometimes God ALLOWS us to go through tough times to REFINE us. That's not exactly the same, but either way, you grow from it.
When you DO know you are being attacked by Satan, consider it a compliment. Consider it encouragement to keep growing in the Lord because you are on the right track. Just do not give into it!
I Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.