How to Silence Sinful Thoughts

 “The Devil’s in the Smokehouse”

“He silenced the Devil: If you find yourself getting very miserly, begin to scatter, like a wealthy farmer in New York state I heard of.

He was a noted miser, but he was converted. Soon after, a poor man who had been burned out and had no provisions, came to him for help. The farmer thought he would be liberal and give the man a ham from his smoke-house. On his way to get it, the tempter whispered to him:

“Give him the smallest one you have.”

He had a struggle whether he would give a large or a small ham, but finally he took down the largest he could find.

“You are a fool,” the devil said.

“If you don’t keep still,” the farmer replied, “I will give him every ham I have in the smoke-house.”—D.L. Moody.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“God delivers from the evil one—Satan is permitted to tempt mankind.”—Rev. Joseph W. Lethbridge:

Hast thou considered my servant Job?” He tempts to evil. He does so by lying, as he did to Eve. “Ye shall not surely die.” He persuades to cursing, as he did through Job’s wife; “Curse God, and die.” He tempts by lust, as in the case of David; by covetousness, as is seen in Gehazi and Judas, Ananias and Sapphira.

Principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses in high places, stand opposed to man’s present and future welfare. Hence Satan and the wicked agencies sow the seeds of discord in families, misunderstandings between man and wife, by thrusting a strange voice, or a strange hand, or a strange look of a third party between them.

They produce hatreds among children, work up contentions among neighbours, and strifes among friends; they stir up civil war in states, and promote foreign enmity among nations. Evil association is the company of Satan. The congregation of wickedness is society for hell. The army of Satan is a mighty evil, which the Lord alone can destroy. How necessary, then, the daily prayer in every heart, by every tongue, in every family, by husband and wife, by child, by neighbour, Deliver us from evil.”

Earth is the place for gracious deliverances, by the daily, the constant, interposition of the hand of the Merciful One. But heaven will be the state of the final deliverance over every foe of the heart and life, and the scene of the triumph over the evil one. Thus, deliverance from every evil is the final triumph over temptation, in being led, not into, but out of it, and enabled by the influence of divine grace to overcome whatever destructive influence was found there.”—Loving Thoughts For Human Hearts; Rev. Joseph Watts Lethbridge; 1860.

Commentaries: “There is a great deal of evil in sinful thoughts, which is very offensive to the Lord Jesus. Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.”—Matthew Henry.

“And Jesus knowing their thoughts; Which was a clear evidence, and full demonstration of His deity; for none knows the thoughts of the heart but God.”—John Gill.

The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words. Proverbs 15: 26.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1: 15

Then when lust hath conceived“—”A proposal of pleasure or profit being made, agreeable to lust, or the principle of corrupt nature, sinful man is pleased with it; and instead of resisting and rejecting the motion made, he admits of it, and receives it, and cherishes it in his mind; he dallies and plays with it; he dwells upon it in his thoughts, and hides it under his tongue, and in his heart, as a sweet morsel, and forsakes it not, but contrives ways and means how to bring it about; and this is lust’s conceiving.”—John Gill.

  • Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 • Read commentaries for this verse here.
  • Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27
  • Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. Romans 12: 12
  • Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11
  • Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11  • Related post: What is the Whole Armor of God?

Philippians 4:8 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.

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