Blasphemous Thoughts?

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thistle93

Puritan Board Freshman
I am sure all of you can relate to me. Not all the time but too often, the most vile things (sexual, violent, unbelief) will just pop up in my mind out of nowhere. I know that some of this has to do with what one fills their mind with (garbage in garbage out). I also know that Satan is the author of these thoughts and seeking to see me stumble into sin. I do not think the initial thoughts are sin but allowing oneself to dwell upon them to be so. This will on occasion happen in the middle of the day but I find often times this happens when trouble falling asleep and my mind wonders. Most the times I try to meditate on the promises of God and/or Scripture.

I know John Bunyan dealt with blasphemous thoughts a lot as mentioned in his book, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Any others in church history who struggled with it and wrote about it? Any other books that deal with topic and/or dealing with or personal strategies you have used to deal with? I am not looking for a quick fix. I know these things will not be completely removed until glorification occurs but would be good to have some defenses in my spiritual arsenal.

For His Glory-
Matthew
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Getting old seems to help. My mind and desires aint what they use to be. Scripture memory really seems to help also. Psalm 119:9-11 and Joshua 1:8 are great passages that encouraged the practice in my life and where a tremendous help.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
One of the Christian psychiatrists I have read on OCD recognises in Bunyan a fairly classic case. You might consider checking out 'Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals' by Ian Osborn as a very good overview of the various manifestations of OCD, to get a better idea if what you are experiencing is something normal/spiritual or something that also needs to be addressed in other ways. It requires discernment of course, but overall I think it's an excellent resource (and some of the suggestions for addressing these types of thoughts are practical regardless of the cause).
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I have heard that the best way to get rid of something is to replace it.

If it becomes your habit to recite a certain psalm or doxology or similar every time a grotesque thought surfaces, you may find those thoughts go away.

If we think about it, our mutual enemy hardly wants any occasion for more scripture recitation or memory. If, every time we are plagued with a particular sin, we replace it with scripture, perhaps he will find someone else to taunt. Or, make it your habit to pray out loud for the salvation of ten unsaved people you know, or something. It would take discipline but I think it would be worthwhile.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
I have heard that the best way to get rid of something is to replace it.

Right. Although this verse doesn't explicitly say replace, I believe it provides some scriptural basis to what you are saying:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil 4:8).
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Getting old seems to help. My mind and desires aint what they use to be. Scripture memory really seems to help also. Psalm 119:9-11 and Joshua 1:8 are great passages that encouraged the practice in my life and where a tremendous help.
Boy, ain't that the truth! It got me to laughing, but only because it's so true.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
I have heard that the best way to get rid of something is to replace it.

Right. Although this verse doesn't explicitly say replace, I believe it provides some scriptural basis to what you are saying:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil 4:8).

I used to have a banner with that verse hanging up in my room and it is a very important one to me. Replacement is a good way to address many things; and filling the mind with those things that are true, pure, lovely, etc is always appropriate.

The issue where blasphemous thoughts are part of a manifestation of OCD (which involves physical brain abnormalities) is that strict 'replacement' tends to become a sort of ritual performed as obsessively as the tormenting thoughts, which feeds into the overall problem and makes it even more debilitating/consuming.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
But... John Bunyan found relief in Christ rather than psychiatric treatment. If he were the classic case, then there is a cure that preceded modern medical science.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Brad I do believe the Lord has throughout history delivered people from these things in His own time and way (and used them for His glory in their lives, as He is still doing). In fact modern medicine doesn't necessarily cure OCD. It offers some treatments which help to cope with it in a less debilitating manner than we see happening for a long time in John Bunyan's experience (if indeed that psychiatrist is correct) -- and just like advances in headache treatments, that is all to the good.

This same psychiatrist believes that Christianity is better able to address the real spiritual issues often involved in OCD (fear and our common need for self righteousness, etc) than mere medication can. But that doesn't alter the fact that the mind needs to be retrained rather than simply redirected with this affliction, and that it may also prove helpful to address brain chemicals, etc.

I ought to add that I am not saying that Matthew has OCD: simply pointing out that if he (or anyone else) does, mere redirection may not alleviate the symptoms so helpfully as other things.

Perhaps Bunyan did undergo a providentially arranged form of 'cognitive behavioural therapy' in the meditation and practice of preaching which proved so helpful to him.

All the best, dear brother.
 

Andrew1142

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't know that I would have a whole lot to contribute to this. Randy already mentioned Psalm 119:9, which has been one of my favorite verses since high school:
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.

That's in the NASB. It reads a little differently in some other translations. I also like the Amplified of this verse in the sense that I think it's very clear, but I don't know anything about Hebrew so I can't really comment on whether it's more or less accurate.

The phrase "blasphemous thoughts" also makes me think of 2 Cor 10:5, though I think it might be a stretch to the context of the verse to apply it here: "Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

And I'm also reminded of Matt. 5:28-30, and Tim already mentioned Phil 4:8.

It looks like Matthew probably already knows quite a bit more about this topic than I do, but I thought I'd go ahead and share what I do know. A men's Bible study that I'm involved in is currently reading this book: The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard It's not about thoughts specifically, but I think it's very good so far.
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
You probably have read of Luther's statement, but in ,case not ----'you can't prevent
a bird flying over your head, but you can stop it making a nest in your head.' My
antidote is to resist and overcome, by not only remembering but deliberately challenging
my belief in Romans 8:2. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
from the law of sin and death." Free indeed, free indeed, thank God I'm free indeed." I have
found that it puts to flight those sins that easily beset us.
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
No how you feel brother, i tend to suffer in that area as well for years when I would wake up
my mind would get blasphemous thoughts I put this down to a devil,so after getting out
of bed I'd use the facilities, have a drink & breakfast then I'd sit down & have my devotions
I usually read through the Psalms in the KJV with an old blue coloured Gideon's NT/Psalms,
I would find that after reading 3 or more Psalms I could discern a spirit leave or lift off me
& would sense The Lord's peace,Davids Psalms work for me,they worked for Saul,they should
work for You.I don't know about the OCD factor as I have a friend whose has it & he couldn't
leave his home for months at a time when it was at its worse, funny thing is that he swears
black & blue that it is a devil attacking him making do repetitive actions of different sorts.
So if thats the case that it is a devil causing your troubles no doctor or shrink or medication
will help,though in Christ we have a greater healer & someone to whom the devils are subject.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
In volume 8 of his series on Ephesians, The Christian Soldier, in chapter 22, The Shield of Faith, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones goes into this topic of, "the fiery darts of the wicked one" at length. This was a pivotal chapter for me. Thinking I was unique in that I had long suffered from these thoughts attacking me in the morning, it was so edifying to me when on page 301 I read;

"But what of our experiences? Do we not all know something of this ? Do we not know something of what it is, perhaps to wake up in the morning and to find that before we had time to do any thinking, thoughts come to us, evil thoughts, perhaps even blasphemous thoughts ? Your were not thinking, you were doing nothing and you had just awakened ; but suddenly the darts reach you. That is what the Apostle means by 'the fiery darts of the wicked one'."

"It is important for us to realize this because it is a part of the enemy's strategy to prevent our understanding that he is the cause of this. He would have us believe that all these things originate in ourselves then he persuades us that in consequence we must be very evil persons who have no right to be called Christians at all. And so he drives us down into the depths of despair and utter hopelessness about ourselves. So nothing is so vital for us to realize that it is the devil whose fiery darts are responsible for our condition." (end quote)

When I experience uninvited blasphemous thoughts I immediately go to our Lord's answer to the adversary, "Get thee behind me Satan." I also incorporate asking the Father to give me 'the full armor of God' in my prayers daily. I do believe those thoughts are of the devil and the Scriptures tell me to resist the devil and he will flee from you. As much as we are repelled by these occasional blasphemous thoughts he is repelled by the word of God. Fighting fire with fire so to speak. If you can lay hold of a copy of this vol.8 I highly recommend it.
 
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