As Christians it is so hard for us to remain pure, more than ever, we are exposed to so much more than many were in the past. Because of our highly advanced technological world, we have such easy access to pornography, to coveting our neighbours through Instagram accounts, worshipping a following, weighing our worth on how many likes we get for a picture…
But did you know that any sin can be stopped, by guarding your mind/heart? Scripture tells us that our hearts need to be protected because it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).
You see whenever we commit any sin, we automatically commit it twice. We commit the sin in our thoughts and then again when we act on that thought. It is easier to overcome sin if we attack it at its root before we act on it.
It is important to recognize the difference between being tempted (introducing an evil thought into the mind) and sinning (deliberately embracing an evil thought).
If we have already allowed sin to form in our thought, it becomes more difficult to stop it from manifesting in our daily lives.
Here are a couple of ways to take back control:
- Spend time in Scripture.
The word of God acts like a barrier. The word of God aids us in identifying temptation and will give us the chance to take the right course. A great example of this is Jesus in the wilderness when he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with the word of God.
“For man shall not live on bread alone” (Matthew 4).
- Depend on the Holy Spirit
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
If we rely solely upon our own strength, we are in incredible danger. Our flesh is weak and constantly fails, The Holy Spirit is powerful and will lead us onto the right path.
He will convict you of your sin, He will sanctify you and help in your journey towards holiness.
“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” – Proverbs 28:26
- Avoid sinful triggers
It does not help any of us to indulge in things that would tempt us to sin, so we need to be careful of the things we watch, read or listen to. The friends we associate ourselves with.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” – Romans 13:14
- Pursue God with all you’ve got
“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”- Francis Chan
When we are true followers of Jesus, we are to replace ungodly thoughts with godly pursuit. This comes from a renewal of the mind and heart. We use scripture as our guide. Scripture tells us that when we are tempted to hate, we replace hateful thoughts with godly actions, we do good to them, we should speak well of them and pray for them, (Matthew 5:44).
When it comes to thievery, we need to work hard instead to earn what we want or need, that way we can also help others honestly. (Ephesians 4:28)
When tempted by lust, we turn our eyes back to God and praise Him for making us in His image, we pray that we are guided by the Holy Spirit. Instead of lusting after someone, we need to pray for them that they may come to know Jesus. (1 Timothy 5:2)
Scripture speaks of “denying self” and putting on the new self. In this case, we need to deny ungodly thoughts and rather do godly things and think godly thoughts.
It is best to replace ungodly thoughts with godly thoughts because that way we do not leave any room for satan to tempt us. (Matthew 12:43-45)
The path we chose when following Christ is not an easy one, but the one He chose in order for us to be saved was definitely not an easy one either. He went all the way to die for us and that gives us grace and mercy.
“If Christ was cursed for you, you cannot be cursed again.” – Charles Spurgeon
So remember who you belong to and overcome evil, because His victory is your victory.