Take heart: Our sins are forgiven. Now is the time to take full advantage of having God as our heavenly Father.
23 The [healthy] fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched [unfazed] by trouble.
The question came up the other day about when unrighteous thoughts become sin. Let’s look at the process:
- We see something on TV that causes a lustful thought, or we see something that a friend just bought that we would like to have. Have we sinned, yet? No.
- Feelings come with that thought and we are tempted to dwell on what we have seen, or we are tempted to dwell on getting what our friend has. Have we sinned, yet? No.
- We have a choice: We can either pursue the temptation and enter into sin or we can take that thought captive to the throne of grace. At this point, I would like to interject two Scripture passages. The first one is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. The second Scripture is Hebrews 4:16, Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
- Making the thought obedient to Christ means that we ask Him what we are to do with it. The first thing He will ask us to do is to turn our thoughts to Him in praise. The second thing is to pray for the person that we saw or the friend who bought what we want. The third thing is to consider boundaries with Him about how this situation might be avoided in the future.
Being in the presence of the Lord is wonderful because love, joy and peace flow from Him like a waterfall. We sense His love, feel His joy, and experience His peace. It is habit-forming, which is the idea! We get into the habit of running to the Father. After a while, Satan gets tired of “sending” us to the throne of grace. Many times, we have victory over strongholds. Other times, we fight them all the way to grave. THEN we have final victory.
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,
and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
Abba, as long as we have flesh bodies, we will be tempted. Thank You that You have provided a way of escape from each circumstance (1 Corinthians 10:13). Each time we run to Your throne, we enjoy Your presence and receive love, joy and peace. You provide us with mercy for our failures and give us grace for what we need. From now on, we will view all temptation–and even failure–as an exercise of our faith. Grow us, Lord Jesus. We want to be just like You. Amen.