Sources of Our Thoughts

"This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." (Jas 3:15-16)

The Bible talks about at least four sources of human thoughts:
  1. The World (books, images, media, friends, traditions, culture, belief-systems, etc)
  2. Our Nature or Soul (Gr. psuchikos; past experiences, inferences, memories, feelings, desires, lusts, undealt sin, immediate need, wickedness inside)
  3. The Devil (Evil spirits, occultic teachings)
  4. God (The Holy Spirit, The Word of God)
Examples of Worldly Thoughts:
  • You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. (Lev 20:23)
  • As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. (1Kgs 11:4)
  • Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: (Col 2:20)
Examples of Soulish Thoughts:
  • Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen 6:5)
  • And Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. (Gen 20:11)
  • When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face. (Gen 38:15)
  • "Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,' and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you. (Deut 15:9)
  • The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. (Ps 10:4)
  • For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matt 15:19)
  • When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1Cor 13:11)
Examples of Demonic Thoughts:
  • Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matt 16:23)
  • Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? (Acts 5:3)
  • The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1Tim 4:1)
  • They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Rev 20:9)
Examples of Thoughts from God:
  • Divine Vision: I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. (Dan 4:5)
  • Good Conscience that Bears Testimony to God's Law Within: "Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) (Rom 2:15)
  • Holy Spirit: The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." (Acts 8:29)
  • The Word of God: "and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2Tim 3:15)
Whenever we feel confused and uncertain about the origin of our thoughts, we should ask: "Did I get these thoughts from the world, or from my mind and heart, or from the devil, or from God? One thing is sure, if these thoughts involve envy, self-seeking, confusion, and every evil thing, they are not from God. The characteristics of divine thoughts are that they are "first pure (without malice), then peaceable (peace-loving, open to reason), gentle (not aggressive and hurtful), willing to yield (submissive), full of mercy and good fruits (forgiving, edifying, and comforting), without partiality and without hypocrisy (unbiased, unprejudiced, honest and transparent)."

Keys to Walking According to Divine Wisdom
  • Cleanse your heart, keep it pure. "The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him. (Prov 15:26, NIV)
  • Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. (Prov 16:3)
  • Contemplate on the Word of God (Psa.1:1-3)
  • Conform life to God (Rom.12:2; 1Pet.1:14,15).


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