Updated: Dec 29, 2020
James 1:12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
It seems very difficult to address our thought life because it seems so "out there." It seems that way because that is the part other people cannot see or hear. But we can see the result of a bad thought life. That is why Jesus wants the change to happen in our lives from the inside out. The Lord said through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 55:8“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. I have always been aware that what we allow in our mind affects how we think about things and can also impact our actions. You know GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT! In the above scripture James was addressing temptation and the impact it can have on our lives. Well, temptation is going to come to all of us. That is a guarantee!! So it comes down to what kind of weapons we will have to fight that temptation. God's Word is our sword and that is more than just a scripture we read that Paul gives to explain the armor of a believer as found in Ephesians 6:10-18. Scripture is a sword, a weapon of battle that not only blocks, but also fights forward for each believer and enables us to live in the wisdom of God. Here are some facts from the above verses. Temptation does not come from God, so don't blame Him. Temptaion comes from our own desires and it's goal is to lead us away from God. If allowed to grow into an action it will be the death of us. It allows sin to get a larger place in our life and before long the sin is seen more than Godliness. Thank God we see there is a cleansing that can take place to bring us back to where we need to be....forgiven and righteous. 1 John 1:9 says "But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
That cleansing is real and moving on from falling away from God is full of encouraging words from God. Here is how Paul dealt with the temptations of life. Galatians 5:6 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
Back to our thought life. We tend to pick out just certain thoughts that are glaring and BAD to emphasize the thought life problem;like pornography and hatred. What about the others like judging a person because of what they are wearing or saying, or gossiping something that you may or may not know is true. How about thoughts judging another person because they disagree with you. The list goes on and on and it all comes back to our thought life. So what is the answer? Develop a standard that is based on God's Word and see how that changes how you think about life itself. In that standard begin by loving God with all you are. You know Heart, Soul, Mind. (Matthew 22:37) . We set the basis for everything we think and do when we get that one right and then let the Word of God do it's work of cutting away the unnecessary parts of our thinking. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Do you see that God's Word will show us where we are falling short? Our thoughts and impressions are flawed at best, but God's Word is pure and fresh and leads us to new Godly thoughts and causes those wrong thoughts to fall away from our life. The Psalmist said this in Psalm 119:11. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
It would do us all good to have the same attitude of the psalmist and pursue God's truth to keep our thoughts in line with our Savior. And this is totally possible because the Holy Spirit shows us how to respond to God's Word and leads us to deeper truths. When we move toward God and deepen our walk through reading and studying His Word we begin to see life and not death in our thoughts. Romans 8:3 sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Perhaps a sporting analogy is applicable here. Quit living on your defense and let your offense score some points in the area of your thought life. More victories are on the horizon if you give your thought life to God.
The Pilgrimage continues....