“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Perhaps you have heard before of the need to forsake your wrong ways. Maybe you have known of the need to turn from a sinful habit, change direction in a certain area or just forsake going your own way and instead to pursue the Lord’s way. Maybe you then tried desperately to change your ways sincerely wanting to go the right way but found despite your efforts and good intentions you found yourself falling back into your old way. No matter how hard you tried to forsake your wicked way in a certain area you found yourself continually drawn back to it. Your desire was to repent, but the true repentance you longed for seemed to continually slip like water through your fingers.
Does this sound familiar? I think this is something that most of us as believers have walked through at different times in our lives. So what is the answer to this great dilemma? I believe part of the root of our problem is that we have thought that we’re only commanded to forsake our way. This verse in Isaiah 55 does indeed tell us to forsake our way but there is more! God does not just speak in this verse of the need to forsake our way but He says also we must forsake our thoughts. Have you ever heard before that we are supposed to forsake our thoughts? All too often we try to forsake our wicked ways but still harbor unrighteous thoughts and vain imaginations and because of this we find ourselves continually going back to our old ways. The truth is if you do not forsake your thoughts you will not be able to forsake your ways.
Our ways and our actions are inseparably related to our thoughts. In other words you don’t do anything without thinking about it first. We read in Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The word “repent” used in this verse according to Strong’s definition means: “to think differently”. To repent is to change your mind. It is to forsake your unrighteous thoughts for the thoughts of God. As your mind is changed your actions will change naturally (or maybe it would be better to say super-naturally). In other words, what we choose to fill our mind with and what thoughts we choose to harbor in the recesses of our heart ultimately sets the course of our whole lives! A.W. Tozer wisely said it this way: “What we think about when we are free to think about what we will – that is what we are or will soon become.”
In Ephesians 4:23 we are commanded: “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” and in Romans 12:2a we are instructed: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” As we begin to see the vital importance of changing our minds and this being the key to seeing our ways change, we have to ask the question: what changes our mind? The answer is: the Word of God! Hebrews 4:12 reads: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
As we forsake our unrighteous thoughts and begin to receive the living, powerful Word of God by thinking and meditating on it, the Word like a sword pierces into our hearts and discerns the thoughts and intentions of our heart. As we spend time meditating on the Word, it begins to change our minds. Scripture says in James 1:21b: “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” This is our great need. To turn aside from all the vain things that we have often filled our thoughts with and instead humbly take set aside time to receive the thoughts of God through meditation on His Word.
As we send time doing this we will find something incredible happening inside of us; we will see our thoughts and ways beginning to change supernaturally as a result of the powerful Word of God sinking deep in our hearts and God’s living Word will literally transform us from the inside out. Not only will this happen but we will also find ourselves returning to the Lord like Isaiah 55:7 mentions. As we set our minds on the Word of God we will find ourselves being brought back into the intimate, fellowship and communion with the Lord that he so jealously desires for us. Praise the Lord!
I will leave you with this final thought: what captivates your thoughts and imagination will ultimately take you captive. Let us forsake our wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts and let us begin to fill our thoughts and imaginations with the living Word of God and see the rich fellowship with the Lord that comes as a result!