When trying to decide what to write in this paper, it seems the thought kept coming--Stop and think! I do not have a specific scripture that I would use for a text for this subject but the principles and application that I want to make are scriptural. Stop and think!
When I was trying to teach my Grand boys to drive the tractor while raking, baling, or hauling the wheat straw we put up each year, I found this phrase come up a lot. Stop and think! It is easy to get to a place while learning to drive a tractor that you forget what to do next. The fence is coming up, do I turn right or left? What do I do now? Stop and think! Hit the hand clutch on the D-17 Allis Chalmers tractor and then the brakes and the tractor will stop. Then think--what am I suppose to do next.
To think means to revolve in the mind, to meditate on, to dwell on something in thought. Our children have grown up in a world that has captured their minds to the extent that they cannot think for themselves. Those who do not stop and think for themselves in life are headed for trouble.
Concerning temptation James. 1:13-15 says: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” In context this is solicitation to do evil. God is not the author of that but the devil is. Temptation is an enticement to evil by the offer of some real and apparent good. Notice “every man is tempted.” And these temptations come in various forms and entices one to yield to the temptation. What do you need to do? Stop and think!
Temptation is not sin within itself. For instance, the first image of something that comes to your mind about something that is against God is not sin, but holding on to that image and reviewing it over and over in your mind is sin. You need to stop and think.
Pro. 9:17 says: “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” “Stolen waters” is a metaphor (a word expressing comparison) referring to an adulterous relationship. This is in contrast to “Drink water out of thine own cistern” (Pro. 5:15), a phrase referring to have one’s natural impulses satisfied in the legitimate sphere of marriage. (“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” I Cor. 7:7-10 “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Heb. 13:4
Every normal man is tempted in this area. Even Paul was for he was given a thorn in the flesh who he called “the messenger of Satan.” And he asked the Lord to remove that thorn three times and the Lord would not but said “My grace is sufficient.” (“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Cor. 12:7-9) Thus, every time he was tempted what did he do? Stopped and thoudgt and acted accordingly. (“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Cor.9:27) He had to literally slap his body into subjection and he told Timothy to “Flee youthful lusts.” in II Tim. 2:22. Paul is a good example to follow.
Stop and think when temptation comes. Stop and think about the marriage vows taken--to be true to your mate until death parts you.
Stop and think about what divorce would do to those around you. Think about the adultery it would cause you and your wife to commit. If you are younger you would not stay single nor would she and all intimate acts committed by you and her would be adulterous. (“And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” Mark 10:12) And the same would be true if man was to put away his wife and marry another--he committeth adultery.
Stop and think! You may say, “but I am not hurting anyone but myself.” Think about the hurt to your mate. Think about the hurt to your parents or to your children which ever be the case. Think about the cause of Christ. II Sam. 12:14 states: “Howbeit, because by this deed (the adultery David committed) thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” If you say you are saved and a man of God you need to think about the influence of your error causing others to fall in the same ditch as you.
Stop and think about life after death. (“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Heb. 9:27) Think about having to face God at the judgment--judgment seat of Christ if you are saved. (“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” II Cor. 5:10) Think about the loss of rewards (“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” II John 8) and the possibility of having nothing to cast back at Jesus’ feet. If you are lost, think about the judgment you will have to face--the Great White Throne. (“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” Rev. 20:11) Think about the word you will hear from the Lord after you make all of your excuses of Mat. 7:22-23. (“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Stop and think when you are dealing with the souls of men for their soul will live some where forever. Think if you lead them to pray a prayer without a complete work of Holy Ghost conviction that your actions when dealing with them may cause them to be made twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Mat. 23:15) Think of bloody hands we will have if we do not practice the truth of the gospel when dealing with other’s souls.
Just as I taught my grand boys that if they got in a tight spot while working in the field--stop and think before they proceed on and if they can not think what to do, turn the key off and call for help.
Spiritually speaking, we need to stop and think when we don’t know which way to turn and if it does not come to us right then, call for help. That is what pastors are for--to help those who stop and think and realize they need help.
This is just some thoughts put together to cause you to stop and think. We have several series of messages preached at New Hope Baptist Church that would cause you to stop and think. If you would like to receive them, please feel free to contact us. All our material is free of charge. (Pro. 23:23) If I can be of help in any way, please feel free to contact me. I care for your soul. I beg you to please STOP AND THINK!
THE PERSUADER - July-Dec., 2011