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Summary: A challenging sermon to apply the Lordship of Christ to your thoughts.

How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?


The Bible has a lot to say to us about our thinking. How true it is that what you are is determined by the way you think. The Son of God tells us that it’s out of the heart that evil thoughts proceed. We are also told in the New Testament that on conversion we are to bring every thought into captivity to the rule of Christ.

So God in His word doesn’t do what the world does. The world just looks on the surface and treats symptoms. The world says, Knock those slums down and build better houses for people and all will be well. But unless people’s hearts are changed, even if they are put into better housing, the houses will eventually become slums again! No, God deals with the heart of the problem, the problem of the heart.

1. The problem of the heart

There is no realm of our personality that has been so damaged by sin as the realm of our thoughts, and the prophet Jeremiah here states that our thoughts are evil. There are two great departments in life – the thoughts of the heart and behaviour that issues from those thoughts.

Have you ever thought of thoughts as sins? Isaiah declares:

Seek the Lord while he may be found,

Call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And he will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For he will abundantly pardon.

So God says to us:

How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?

Our hearts here are likened to a kind of guest-house where visitors come crowding in every moment of every day. These guests – these thoughts – lodge in the heart and determine character.

2. The thoughts of the heart

If we are honest we have to admit that by nature we are very loathe to think good thoughts. When you begin to pray, what happens to your thoughts? When you begin to read the Bible? When you begin to worship? Your thoughts can so easily be distracted.

It’s also true that we find it comparatively easy to think base thoughts. If that were not true the world couldn’t make the money out of advertising that it does! We also see the same problem exposed in the massive rise in internet pornography.

Furthermore, in everyday life there can be an idle curiosity about our thoughts. Now there is a curiosity of the mind that is healthy and which thirsts for knowledge. But there is an idle curiosity that wants to stick its nose into other people’s business.

Paul sums this all up when he says in Romans 13: 14:

Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts.

3. The heart remedy

Is there a remedy for the heart? Thanks God there is! The first word of the gospel is – Repent!

Let us say that we are sick and tired of the sinful thoughts which lodge in our hearts and minds, and that we want to be rid of them.

Though we have given way to sinful thoughts they can be cleansed and forgiven. The gospel is that there is no sin which cannot be cleansed and forgiven and put away by the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

But what if the evil thoughts threaten to return and lodge in your heart? The answer to that is to let Jesus Christ in. That’s why the writer of proverbs says:

Keep your heart with all diligence,

For out of it spring the issues of life.

There has to be a Chief Guest in your heart, watching all the other guests – the thoughts – that want to enter, knowing which guests to admit and which guests to reject. That’s why becoming a Christian means the Lord Jesus Christ dwelling in your heart by His Spirit and by faith. God says to you:

My son, give me your heart.

God knows that if the Lord Jesus dwells in your heart by faith, then you are His for time and eternity. Have you ever repented of your sins? Have you asked God for forgiveness through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross to cleanse you from sin? Have you asked Jesus Christ into your heart?

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