The world we live in has compromised “good” with a lot of deception that looks good but is really evil. Matthew 7:13 says that there is a lot of sin in the world and that many people are heading in the wrong direction because of it. Many Christians stay away from the obvious sins of the world and live in their own space where they try to uphold what is right and avoid being involved with people and events that don’t support Christian ethics. But too often our mind wanders off into curiosity as we watch the world and the fun it seems to be having – and that curiosity can lead to sin. We do this because we don’t know how to control our thoughts.
We have been programmed from birth to accept some of the deceptions of the world and to believe that as long as we don’t deliberately break any of the Ten Commandments, then we’re doing just fine as Christians. And unbelievers accept this as a protocol for life, as well. After all, we haven’t killed anyone, robbed any banks, shouted out in profanity or slandered a Minister of the Gospel so that makes us a lot better than most people, so we’re okay – in our own eyes.
This is likely one of the greatest deceptions that many of us face. We miss the true benchmark, which is the Word of God aka the Bible, and we compare ourselves to other people and to what THEY deem as acceptable, and we follow them instead of God. Remember Cane? He thought the same thing and look what happened to him! God asked for a blood sacrifice and Cane thought that his offering would be better because HE was a gardener and wanted to give what HE wanted. But his thoughts were sinful and caused him to not only act on them, but to become jealous and to even kill his own brother.
When WE decide what is right and what is wrong we literally put ourselves out there as a target to be attacked by the devil. Why? Because it’s our thoughts that begin the process of anything good or bad that we do. If we think on something that is sinful, the devil will encourage us and influence us in every way possible to get us to act on that thought, and the more we meditate on it, the more he works on us to do it. Before long, we will act on it and then twist the scriptures to justify it so that we don’t feel guilty. This is a deception that can destroy us.
The only way that we can control our thoughts is to focus on the Lord, study His Word and meditate on them day and night so that the thoughts of the world cannot have any room to enter in. And when we do this, the Lord will be very present and give us peace so we won’t be tempted by bad thoughts.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” … Isaiah 26:3
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” How do we love God with our mind? By studying the Bible and filling our mind with the things of God.
We’re also told in Joshua 1:8 that, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” God has promised that He will bless us when our thoughts are on the things that He has set out for us.
But He also warns us that it’s not a simple journey because as soon as we begin to read the Bible so we can think on the good things, the devil gets angry and works even harder on us to get us to stop reading and go back to thinking his way. And he doesn’t give up easily.
John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” And the only way that we can overcome his attacks is to read more and pray harder, and the more we read, the stronger and more like Christ we become and the easier it is to defeat the devil.
In James 4:7, it says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. [read, study, pray, praise God] Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
How do we resist the devil? By ignoring the bad thoughts that come at us and focussing ONLY on what God has to say about any subject that we’re concerned with. The devil will always be ready to fill our thoughts with things that are wrong but that seem right, and the only way we’ll know if the thoughts are from God or from the devil is to study the Bible and know what God has to say about them. Then we can resist [or cast down] the thoughts that we know are not from God, and we can act on the ones that we know ARE from God.
There is a saying that flooded the Christian world a few years ago – “What would Jesus do?” or “WWJD”. If we’re ever in doubt and don’t have the time or the ability to read or pray about a situation that is coming against through thoughts that are challenging us, then we can simply stop and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do if He was here facing this?”
When we can think the way Jesus thinks, then we can keep ourselves pure in thought and out of trouble.
“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