The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. (Genesis 6:5–6, NLT)
It is sobering to see what happened to the human heart because of a reckless thought life. It did not take long after sin had poured into the human race in the Garden of Eden for men’s and women’s thinking to go down the tubes. Almost immediately Adam and Eve let fear dominate their thinking when they hid from the presence of God. God was no longer the focal image of their thoughts. Corrupt thinking only worsened, as Cain murdered Abel when thoughts of jealousy and anger shaped his heart into a murderer. Sin was crouching at the door of Cain’s thought life, and he failed to master it. Each succeeding generation continued to allow sin to crowd God out of their thinking.
The Days of Noah: The Point of No Return
In Genesis 6, people’s thought life had so corrupted their hearts that it reached a point of no return. Every thought, imagination, and intention of their human thinking was consistently and totally evil.. The Bible does not say some of the imaginations and thoughts of the human race were continually evil, but all of their images, desires, intentions, and inclinations, in every single thought, were evil.
This was not just some weekend fling. It was their thinking from the time they got up in the morning until the time they went to bed at night. There was not a moment in the day when this evil thought process was not actively controlling their minds and shaping their hearts. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with God in their thinking and ultimately in their hearts.
The psalmist affirms this destructive habit of wrong thinking to the human heart:
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (NIV)
This wicked and rebellious people in the time of Noah did not seek God in their thinking. God was not in one single thought. God is the most awesome thing we can ever think about, but these people were so deceived that they did not believe they needed God. They simply had no room for God in their thinking.
This is the tragic height of selfishness. This is the ultimate ego trip. This is the most dangerous thinking pattern on the planet. Without God in our thoughts, we have written the death sentence to the magnificent purpose God has prepared for our lives. To never know Him is the greatest catastrophe of the ages. He deserves the honor to be first in our thinking.
The catastrophe of the flood in the days of Noah was caused by wrong thinking. The fountain of their thought life became corrupt, and as its waters flowed into the heart, it poisoned every purpose, desire, and action.
James Allen, in As a Man Thinketh, says:
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. As the plant springs from and could not be without the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them … Cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of chance, but is the result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harboring of groveling thoughts … In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself.[i]
Our Thought Life: A Weapon for Good or Evil
Our thoughts are a mighty weapon that can forge our hearts into a steel fortress for our God, or they can be a stealth bomber that penetrates our inner life and destroys our hearts. Thoughts are a much more powerful weapon than any nuclear bomb. They are the critical component to our spiritual growth. We must have a disciplined thought life that is focused like a laser on God and His Word, or our hearts will become a mush of spiritual apathy and worldly lusts.
The Devil is a master general at attacking the thought life of a Christian. His war strategy involves tactics of deception, pressure, and enticement to turn our thinking away from God and toward his kingdom. The Devil knows that every action that flows out of the human heart originates from our thoughts. He knows that our moral character is an exact image of our thinking. Our thoughts determine whether our character drifts toward good or evil.
The Devil knows that in order for a person to do evil, he must first think evil.
Within ten generations, the Devil was so successful that only one person on the entire earth had godly thoughts. The population of the earth at the time of the flood was between 235 million and 7 billion people. In approximately 1,656 years after the fall in the Garden, sin had spread like wildfire and contaminated every single thought of what was probably billions of people. To imagine that only one person out of this massive population had his thought life together is mind-boggling. Nothing in their thoughts reflected the image of God and not one thought brought glory to God. They were wise, rich, sophisticated, and cultured for their time, but the defining characteristic of their age was wickedness because of their thinking.
A civilization that is centered on an ungodly thought life is built on sinking sand. This civilization in the days of Noah received the fruit of their thoughts, which was wickedness and corruption that multiplied on the face of the earth.
Only Noah was thinking rightly and found favor with God. No one else held the image of God and His words as the standard for their thoughts. No one else was guarding their thoughts. No one else cared that their thought life had nothing good in it, but was a breeding ground for evil. Only Noah had righteous thoughts that built his faith and fueled his obedience to God. Noah’s thought life was pure and free from evil because he walked with God.
Is Your Thinking Breaking God’s Heart?
Genesis 6:6 reveals how the toxic thinking of the human race affected God’s heart. These verses contain the first usage of the word heart in the Bible, and they describe a heart that is in deep sorrow.
And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Genesis 6:6, NKJV)
The toxic thought life of His precious creation broke God’s heart. God’s heart was in horrible agony and pain as He groaned in sorrow over the condition of the heart of every member of the human race. He cried in agony that His people refused to honor Him with even one thought.
Is our thought life any better? Does our thinking bring great agony to the heart of God? How God must grieve today over the thought life of so many Christians and the toxic thinking of this generation.
God is sounding out a clarion call to all who would listen that what we think is critically important to the heart of God. He knows He cannot have your heart if He does not first have your thoughts.
I don’t want to break the heart of God because of my toxic thinking. I want to bring glory to God with my thinking. I want to honor Him with every thought. I do not want any virus to infect my thinking and take out the operating system of my heart. A reckless thought life led to the annihilation of an entire civilization. Is it happening again?
[i] James Allen, As a Man Thinketh (New York: Tribeca Books, 1910), 10.
Read more in Tim Rowe’s new book “The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life” http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Key-Everything-Christian-Life-ebook/dp/B01DK0QZYG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1460632838&sr=8-1