The Second Crisis in Christian Experience – By Christian Ruth

Chapter 37

Evil Thoughts And Thoughts Of Evil

Failing to distinguish between evil thoughts and thoughts of evil has brought many a soul into bondage and under condemnation whom God had not condemned. Jesus said, “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts… and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21.) Evil thoughts spring from an impure fountain and indicate that there is an evil or corrupt heart. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7.) The sin of thought is just as open to God, with whom we have to do, as is the sin in word and deed, and just as certainly needs to be repented of and forgiven. “Repent, therefore, of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” An evil heart is the generator of evil thoughts and evil deeds. Evil thoughts arise involuntarily and crowd into the mental faculties as birds of prey to pollute and destroy everything that is good. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his he art was only evil continually.”

Thoughts of evil are suggested from without, and to the pure soul are always repugnant and offensive. We can not help but think about the evil we see or hear any more than we can help the color of our hair; but as the evil is presented the judgment and conscience at once disapprove, and the pure soul draws back from it as instinctively as one would from touching a serpent in the night time. Satan can and will present and suggest evil to a pure soul, from without, but he who has a clean heart has nothing within that responds to the suggestion nothing that welcomes or takes pleasure in the thought, but instantly shrinks from it and repudiates it; so that he can say, in the language of Jesus, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” If the thought of evil is long entertained, or affords pleasure, it in like manner will defile the soul. A tendency or predisposition to evil in the heart would indicate that the heart is not yet wholly cleansed, and that the soul is in constant peril. “Like begets like,” is as true in our thought life as elsewhere. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” Some one has well said, “We cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, but we can prevent their building nests in our hair.” So, we cannot prevent Satan from presenting evil to us so as to compel us to think about it, but we can prevent the evil suggestion from finding lodgment in our hearts. Because Satan presents the evil is no reason why we should receive it and so make it our own. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” He who keeps his thought life pure will experience no difficulty in living a pure outward life. “The thoughts of the righteous are right.” Just as certainly as an evil heart generates evil thoughts, so surely will a pure heart generate pure thoughts. If the fountain is pure the stream will be pure. “Sow a thought, and reap a desire; sow a desire, and reap an act; sow an act, and reap a character; sow a character, and reap a destiny.” “The word of God is… a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”      “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II. Cor. 10:4,5.)