Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vain Thoughts

In his book Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices, Thomas Brooks counsels the believer to consider how his vain thoughts disrupt the worship of God.

First, Mr. Brooks looks at the device of Satan:  "Oh! the vain thoughts that Satan casts in, do so distaste my soul, and so grieve, vex, perplex, and distract my soul, that they even make me wary of holy duties, yes, of my very life," (Kindle location 1845).

The author then proceeds to give remedies against Satan's device of vain thoughts:
  1. "To have your hearts strongly affected with the greatness, holiness, majesty, and glory of that God before whom you stand, and with whom your souls converse in religious services.  Oh! let your souls be greatly affected with the presence, purity, and majesty of that God before whom you stand...There is nothing that will contribute so much to the keeping out of vain thoughts, as to look upon God as an omniscient God, an omnipresent God, an omnipotent God, a God full of all glorious perfections, a God whose majesty, purity, and glory will not allow him to behold the least iniquity," (Kindle location 1853).
  2. "To be faithful in religious services, notwithstanding all those wandering thoughts the soul is troubled with.  This will be a sweet help against them: for the soul to be resolute in waiting on God, whether it be troubled with vain thoughts or not," (Kindle location 1862).
  3. "That those vain and trifling thoughts that are cast into our souls, when we are waiting upon God in this or that religious service, if they be not cherished and indulged -- but abhorred, resisted, and disclaimed; they are not sins upon our souls, though they may be troubles to our minds; they shall not be put upon our accounts, nor keep mercies and blessings from being enjoyed by us...It is not Satan casting in of vain thoughts that can keep mercy from the soul, or undo the soul -- but the lodging and cherishing of vain thoughts...Vain thoughts pass through the best hearts; they are lodged and cherished only in the worst hearts," (Kindle location 1862-1881).
  4. "That watching against sinful thoughts, resisting of sinful thoughts, lamenting and weeping over sinful thoughts, carries with it the sweetest and strongest evidence of the truth and power of grace, and of the sincerity of your hearts, and is the readiest and the surest way to be rid of them (Psalm 139:23)," (Kindle location 1881).
  5. "To labor more and more to be filled with the fullness of God, and to be enriched with all spiritual and heavenly things.  What is the reason that the angels in heaven have not so much as an idle thought?  It is because they are filled with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19)...Oh, then, lay up much of God, of Christ, of precious promises, and choice experiences in your hearts -- and then you will be less troubled with vain thoughts," (Kindle location 1899-1908).
  6. "To keep up holy and spiritual affections; for such as your affections are, such will be your thoughts...Those who are frequent in their love of God and his law, will be frequent in thinking of God and his law," (Kindle location 1908).
  7. "To avoid multiplicity of worldly business.  Oh, let not the world take up your hearts and thoughts.  Souls which are torn in pieces with the cares of the world will be always vexed and tormented with vain thoughts in all their approaches to God," (Kindle location 1908).

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"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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," (2 Cor. 10:3-5).