Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Temptation and Sinful Thoughts

Chuckle:  A little girl asked her mother for fifty cents to give to an old lady in the park. Touched by her kindness, the mother gave the girl the money. “There you are,” said the mother. “But isn’t the lady able to work?’ “Oh yes,” came the reply. “She sells candy.”
Quote: There is but one thing more dangerous than sin – the murder of a man’s sense of sin” –Pope John Paul II
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that  anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”  (Matthew 5:27-28 NIV). “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him in whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV).
I suspect many of us live with the invalid assumption that sin does not occur unless we do something forbidden by God’s Word – unless we act out our illicit thoughts in response to a temptation. We tend to measure sin by our actions rather than our thoughts. But as we mature in Christ, God will reveal to us through His Word, as illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that sins of the heart and mind are just as serious and dangerous as sinful actions. Jesus plainly revealed this truth in our Matthew passage above in reference to adultery.
in the Ten Commandments, we are taught that it is wrong for a person to indulge in sexual activity with anyone other than that person’s wife or husband (Exodus 20:14). Jesus expands this teaching by telling us it is equally wrong to have the desire for sex with someone other than your marriage partner; thus it is sinful. If the physical act of adultery is wrong, so is mental adultery. To be faithful to your spouse with your body but not your mind is to break the sacred trust so vital for a strong godly marriage. If left unchecked, sinful desires often culminate in sinful actions.
Of course, besides sexual desires, there are other areas where we can be tempted to entertain sinful thoughts. Jealousy, anger, Hatred, Greed, covetousness, hunger for power, and selfishness are other areas where we can be tempted to entertain sinful thoughts. As I thought about this subject, I was convicted that we sin if we have thoughts of disobeying God’s Word. “One of the hardest things for the Christian of our day is to recognize the presence of sin in his own life and all around him. In fact, we often try to minimize the presence of sin and to make light of its effect on us.” –Unknown source
From yesterday’s devotional, I think we will all agree that the content of our hearts and minds determines who we are and what we do. It is through the Holy Spirit’s entry into our minds that our lives are transformed into the persons God wants us to be -- into the likeness of Jesus Christ. If we allow the Holy Spirit to control our minds, We can control our behavior. Remember, “The Lord knows the thoughts of Man” (Psalm 94:11 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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