Thinking about what you don’t have:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die. – GENESIS 3:1-6
The serpent, Satan, tempted Eve by getting her to doubt God’s goodness. He implied that God was strict, stingy, and selfish for not wanting Eve to share his knowledge of good and evil. Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and, instead, focus on the one thing she couldn’t have. We fall into trouble, too, when we dwell on the few things we don’t have rather than on the countless things God has given us. The next time you are feeling sorry for yourself and what you don’t have, consider all you do have and thank God. Then your doubts won’t lead you to into sin.
Think before you act:
“These are the laws you are to set before them – EXODUS 21:1ff
These laws were given because everything we do has consequences. It is vital to think before acting, to consider the effects of our choices. Think of your plans for today and consider what their long-term results will be. As we deal with others, we should keep the principles of these laws in mind. We should act responsibly and justly with all people – friends and enemies alike.
Think before you speak:
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. – PROVERBS 15:28
The righteous weigh their answers; the wicked don’t wait to speak because they don’t care about the effects of their words. It is important to have something to say, but it is equally important to weigh it first. Do you carefully plan your words, or do you pour out your thoughts without concern for their impact?
Importance of ridding wrong ones from your life:
..and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. – NUMBERS 12:11
Aaron asked that the sin he and Miriam committed not be held against them. It is easy to look back at our mistakes and recognise their foolishness. It is much harder to recognise foolish plans while we are carrying them out because somehow then they seem appropriate. To get rid of foolish ideas before they turn into foolish actions requires eliminating our wrong thoughts and motives. Failing to do this caused Miriam and Aaron much grief.
Your thoughts reflect your character:
Woe to those who plan iniquity,
to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out
because it is in their power to do it.
They covet fields and seize them,
and houses, and take them.
They defraud a man of his home,
a fellow-man of his inheritance. – MICAH 2:1-2
Micah spoke out against those who planned evil deeds at night and rose at dawn to do them. A person’s thoughts and plans reflect his or her character. What do you think about as you lie down to sleep? Do your desires involve greed or stepping on others to achieve your goals? Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do no t murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. – MATTHEW 5:21-22
When Jesus said, “But I tell you,” he was not doing away with the law or adding his own beliefs. Rather, he was giving a fuller understanding of why God made that law in the first place. For example, Moses said, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13); Jesus taught that we should not even become angry enough to murder, for then we have already committed murder in our heart. The Pharisees read this law and, not having literally murdered anyone, felt righteous. Yet they were angry enough with Jesus that they would soon plot his death, though they would not do the dirty work themselves. We miss the intent of God’s word when we read his rules for living without trying to understand why he made them. When do you keep God’s rules but close your eyes to his intent?
Evil actions begin with:
He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’.” – MARK 7:20-23
There is purpose in doubting, see Thomas’ Profile
What we think about determines what we say:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – PHILIPPIANS 4:8
What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our minds with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Do you have problems with impure thoughts and daydreams? Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, books, conversations, films, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God’s word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. It takes practice, but it can be done.
To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. – TITUS 1:15
Some people see good all around them, while others see nothing but evil. What is the difference? Our souls become filters through which we perceive goodness or evil. The pure (those who have Christ in control of their lives) learn to see goodness and purity even in this evil world. But corrupt and unbelieving people find evil in everything because their evil minds and hearts colour even the good they see and hear. Whatever you choose to fill your mind with will affect the way you think and act. Turn your thoughts to God and his word, and you will discover more and more goodness, even in this evil world. A mind filled with good has little room for what is evil (see Philippians 4:8).
©Kingsway International Church 1973.