Many times, there is not much we can do to stop the 1st thought that enters our minds. It could be a “fiery dart.” It might be a tempting thought at the sight of a voluptuous lady, the first look at a car that you have been wanting or a home that is beyond your financial means, a quick look at a delectable piece of chocolate, or a view of an outfit that you would “die” for. It may be an anxious thought that leads to fear, uncertainty, or doubt. An initial thought could lead to the potential to manipulate or control. The 1st thought happens without the will being engaged.
The will is engaged with the 2nd thought giving us the opportunity to choose. We deliberately must obey God. James 4:7 declares for us to “submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James describes the slippery slope of not choosing Christ with our 2nd thought. “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15). If we have not intentionally shutdown the “cruise control” or “auto-pilot” of the unhealthy, lustful neural paths of our unconscious mind, the 2nd thought will automatically follow the will of the flesh. Before we know it, we are practicing ungodliness and fellowship with the Lord broken.
Let me assure you, the devil is the master of illusion and deceitfulness. He skillfully enjoys guiding us down the highway of darkness. “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Paul the Apostle declares to each Christ-follower, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11). God wants the Christian to be discerning…to recognize and determine what is right or wrong. Once determined, they choose “what is best and pure.” Discerning the Godly 2nd thought leads to “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus.”
The Psalmist declares to us in 25:12, “Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.”
The 2nd thought determines what you choose. What you choose determines who you are.