Psychological warfare. Merriam Webster defines it as “things that are done to make someone (such as an enemy or opponent) become less confident or feel hopeless, afraid, etc.”
I recently reread the section of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince where Harry makes Ron (and Hermione) think he’s given Ron Felix Felicis, a potion that makes the drinker lucky. Ron is so convinced that he’s unstoppable due to his luck that he does perfectly in their quidditch game. A couple fan fiction authors have connected it back to the power of positive thinking.
We live on a spectrum–one where hope and true positive thinking (that’s grounded in who God is and in who we are as God’s children) are on one end of the spectrum and despair, fear, pride, uncontrolled rage, jealousy, envy, etc. are on the other end of the spectrum. Perspective and faith (or lack thereof) are what move us from one side to the other.
Satan doesn’t need to wreck our lives. He just needs to move us out of faith and we do the rest. If we’re in fear, we won’t take risks. We won’t go after the things God has called us to do or to be. In one of the entrepreneur books I read last year, the author asked something like, “how you would run your business if someone came and told you it would be a multi-million dollar business within two years?” I know it would definitely change how I handled my business. I’d be way more willing to take risks and to put effort into it.
How would you run your life if you truly believed you were a royal child of the God who is sovereign over the universe and works everything out for your good?
I don’t know about you, but it would be way easier for me to fight off despair if I really believed that in every moment. It would be way easier to be less stressed, to trust that things were a certain way for a reason, rather than getting tied in knots of rage or fear or pride or envy or jealousy.
Psychological warfare means that we give up when God’s already won the battle. We give up when victory is already ours. We give up and despair in sight of the finish line. We lash out at other people, destroying relationships when there’s no real reason to lash out.
This is not to say that life isn’t hard. It is. Jesus says “In this world you will have trouble.” But that isn’t where He stops. He says, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Jesus has overcome the world. Past tense. Not future.
You are your own worst enemy. I am my own worst enemy. We have an enemy who uses psychological warfare to make sure of that (1 Peter 5:8).