St. Paul's Lutheran Church

Close this search box.

In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. – Genesis 32:7

Here we read about Jacob before he went to be reunited with his brother Esau. We read that he was riddled with doubts and fear. He was told that Esau was very wealthy and blessed with a large family. It made him wonder if God had changed His mind and rejected him in favor of Esau. But these thoughts remained just thoughts. And every human being, due to the sinful nature and weak faith, has such thoughts — they can’t avoid them any more than they can avoid emotions such as impatience, anger, and lust. No one can keep such thoughts or temptations from popping into the head, but you should not let such thoughts become seated in your mind, so they start to affect your judgment.

Thoughts and temptations are sure to come, and they come in all forms: lust, greed, envy, anger, jealousy, self-centeredness, self-preservation, and the like. Let them come; you would drive yourself crazy if you tried to block them or ignore them. But don’t give into them and don’t let them find a resting place in your mind. Don’t let them grow so out of control that you act on such thoughts.

Consider Cain, Saul and Judas. They let their thoughts grow and grow and they obsessed over them until finally, after they destroyed everything, all they could say before the Lord was, “My punishment is more than I can bear” (Genesis 4:13) or “I have sinned…for I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). After letting their thoughts enslave them and after becoming filled with evil, all that was left was judgment because they rejected the Word of God, faith, and prayer. But Jacob, rather than being possessed by thoughts and horrible temptations, continued to believe.

Heavenly Father, keep me from obsessing over my thoughts and from falling to temptation, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TOP PODCASTS IN RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY… Issues, Etc., a radio-talk show and podcast produced by Lutheran Public Radio and hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken, consistently ranks among the Top Podcasts in Religion & Spirituality with Apple Podcasts.  You can listen at your convenience at, the LPR mobile app or your favorite podcast provider.