What’s on your mind?—This old saying may be more revealing than we think.
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Why think you evil in your hearts?—Matt. 9: 4
“The wicked and the ungodly are full of evil and sinful thoughts. Their expressions and external conduct serve as an index of the internal, moral state of mind. As the habitual, moral state of mind, so is the character. Character is what one intrinsically is. Reputation is what one is reputed to be. As some one has well said: ” Character is the hand, and reputation is the glove.”
Upon the nature of the thoughts cherished depends the character of the man. Are the thoughts vile? So is the character. Are the thoughts pure and virtuous? So is the character. The nature of the habitual moral thought is but another name for character. “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”
Ordinarily, thought precedes external action. As the nature of the root of a tree, so is the nature of the trunk and branches. The nature of the visible and the invisible is one and the same. So concerning thought and action. Murder in thought precedes the firing of the fatal shot, and theft is committed in thought before the hand appropriates unlawful money or goods. All evil deeds have their origin in the thought.
Evil thoughts, however, are not confined to the wicked and the ungodly exclusively. The truly good and pious are often troubled with evil thoughts, only with this difference. The wicked and the impure delight in impure and unholy thoughts. Such thoughts seem to please the carnal nature. They are welcomed and cherished by the worldling. They are not perplexed and troubled, as they are strangers to the higher life, and have no concern for the future.
The inner sanctum of the pious and enlightened heart is haunted by foul thoughts. These thoughts are not wanted by the pure. Like David, they hate their own vain, foolish thoughts. Like unwelcome intruders, unholy thoughts trouble and perplex the soul of the righteous.
- These thoughts are not habitual with the truly righteous.
- They are not welcomed.
- They are not harbored.
The heart is a moral battle-ground. Evil thoughts are temptations of Satan and suggestions of the carnal remains.
It is impossible to prevent evil thoughts from coming to us. They will come in spite of all we can do. “We can not prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can prevent them from building nests in our hair.”
Christians must be on the alert.
When evil thoughts present themselves Christians must bravely and manfully drive them out as Christ drove the thieves and money-changers out of the temple. Do not allow yourself to be greatly perplexed and troubled when evil thoughts present themselves. They will come as long as we tabernacle in the flesh.
But be careful not to harbor them. Bid them depart. Betake yourself to earnest prayer, to the reading of God’s Word and holy work.”—(Condensed) Rev. W. Selner; 1903
- “God sounds the secrets of all hearts – no sin escapes His notice; how senseless then is the sinner to think he sins securely when unseen by men! Let us take heed to our hearts, as well as to our conduct, for God searches out and condemns all that does not spring from, and leads not to Himself.” —Adam Clarke
- “There is a great deal of evil in sinful thoughts, which is very offensive to the Lord Jesus.”—Matthew Henry
- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.—Philippians 4:8 ~ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you–James 4: 7