Jeremiah 16:10-13 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the Lord, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law; And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me: Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
This passage focuses on the sins of the children of Israel. They did not serve the Lord rightly, and they have forsaken His laws. Nonetheless, there is one note that we may have overlooked, which is also about the imagination of their evil hearts. This means the thoughts that we conceive are what lead us to eventually committing the sins.
Often we keep track of our sinful behavior, but we tend to neglect our sinful thoughts. According to God in Jeremiah 16:12, ‘ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart,’ a wicked thought is also considered a sin. God will hold us accountable for our thought life or imaginations at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Often, our struggle with sins is due to our thoughts or our inability to be aware of them.
Angry thoughts are a prevalent thought that we always hold towards others. Sometimes it can even be towards our Pastor, fellowship members, or our families. We try to conceal our bitterness with a great act of kindness or faithfulness.
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
This is why we can never rely on ourselves, but on God to put us under the blood of Jesus Christ and wash away our sins and iniquities so that we can be forgiven.
If God can forgive and forget about our transgression, why can’t we do the same with others; remove our angry thoughts towards others?
This about our thought that has deviated from the norm or what we should really focus on.
It is so easy for us to get distracted when attention is needed from us. God wants us to have a sound mind. He wants us to be clear with our thoughts and stay away from vain imaginations.
Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
As the Bible clearly says, vain imaginations often lead to wickedness and worldliness, and God hates the sacrifice of the wicked. God considers it an abomination if we bring a wicked mind to church. A wicked mind is also equivalent to sins or abomination like sodomy or adultery.
This kind of thought always happens to Christians if we covet what the people of the world have, what they are chasing after, and that they seem to do better than us financially or materially. Avaricious thought often has something to do with greed, feeling of envy towards others, and it will lead to resentment.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Covetousness often stems from something that we love. Basically, it is when we love what the worldly and wicked people have, more than God.
If we love God more, we will bid the best for the lost sinners to have more of the world because that’s their best joy and happiness, or simply to have compassion for them. We know all these worldly materials will burn off eventually, but we Christians will inherit God’s riches and inheritance in heaven for eternity one day.
Proverbs 6:25,27 lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
We know that one little flick of cigarette can cause an immense wild or forest fire, which will require a massive amount of resources and effort to put off the fire.
The same goes for us if we entertain one little lust in that mind, it will then sprout and grow in us, eventually causing us to desire for more. We should stay away from worldly entertainment, even with the slightest, mildest form of explicit content. All of this negative content will be ingrained in our lives, and we become habituated to yield to these sins.
On the contrary, being ashamed of ourselves, holding ourselves hostage, and beating ourselves up is also a sin. Instead, we should learn to embrace the things that we are ashamed of, put them under the blood of Jesus Christ, and move on.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
We need to realize that the things we do in the future can drown out even the negative things in our past. God allows us to redeem ourselves; that’s how much He loves us.
Paul is a good example when it comes to this. Our first impression of him from the Bible is all the good he has done for the Lord, the epistles that he wrote, the gospel he spread, even though he came from the background of a murderer and torturer of Christ.
When we go through suffering, we are bound to have abject thoughts which make us feel miserable.
1 Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
Magic thoughts will not pop out suddenly to encourage us, nor can we rely on other people. We need discipline and the willpower to build up the encouragement. More importantly, we need to rely on the Lord to exhort us and to lift us. Jesus Christ is the only one that can meet our spiritual needs!
Remember God’s promises: He will pay us back for all the tears that we have shed for Him and all the suffering that we have gone through for Christ’s sake.
The key to sin and to backslide in our spiritual walk is our inclination to make excuses due to our alibi thoughts. This is Satan’s plan to rob us of our Lord’s blessings.
Luke 9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
In our fleshly terms, sometimes we give in when we strongly empathize with someone even thought it is for a worldly reason, but look at how Jesus deals with such a situation.
Luke 9:60-62 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
We can see that Jesus uses tough language in His preaching, and He is not a comforter or a men pleaser. We need to understand that the reason Jesus said that is because He does not want us to lean towards our excuses, which will also take us a step away from God.
Sometimes in our nature, we like to make assumptions, and automatically accuse things, that can be very dangerous. We become sensitive over trivial matters or even to people at church. Why are we so good at judging others, but fail to judge ourselves as fault finders? (Matthew 7:3-5)
It is wrong for us to assume that we are zealous by judging others excessively, but the truth is we are filled with pride and ego. Leave others alone to work on their problems, rebuke and exhort when it’s necessary, but ultimately our focus should be on ourselves, and our walk with God.
Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Being anxious and worried is a sin. It means that we do not trust God that He will fix our problems for us. We often allow our negative perception about the future to agonize us, but only to realize that things are not even bad, to begin with. Nevertheless, we need to be wary that sometimes reality may occur based on what we conceive, so it is best to stay away from negative or anxious thoughts.
Every negative thought we have stems from the temptation around us, or what we expose ourselves to. Often we resort to worldly entertainment, thinking that’s a good way to seek fun and joy. But it leads us to more pain and suffering because those temptations will yield us further into sin, and that will open up a pathway for spiritual attacks.
James 1:8,14 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
One of the keys to conquering temptation is single-mindedness. Focus on serving the Lord and nothing else, as that would help us submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to fix all our problems and suffering.
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
Just remember, that when we face God at the Judgment Seat of Christ, our thought life will be scrutinized and judged explicitly by God. Even if we do not commit some of the sins outwardly, the thoughts and imaginations are enough to put us in trouble.