Proverbs 15 1-15-23

Ever had a thought pop into your head out of nowhere? Be careful! What we do with that thought is very important.

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you entertain such evil thoughts in your hearts? Matthew 9:4
19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.” Matthew 15:19-20

Here’s a good topic to discuss: A bad thought is a sin.

Let’s begin with a question: When did Eve sin, when she saw that the fruit was good for eating or when she actually ate of it? How about adultery or murder: When did the look turn to lust or the hate turn into a hit? Could it be that the Spirit convicts us of righteousness before He convicts us of sin?

Take Cain, for example,

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

The Lord convicted Cain of righteousness by reminding him of what the right thing to do was. After he killed Abel, the Lord convicted Cain of sin.

Another good question is, When does Satan lie to us? Is it not in our minds? Does he not try to deceive us and capture us mentally? He knows that our thoughts lead to actions (James 1:14-15). James says, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters” (James 1:16). Paul tells us what to do with these run-away thoughts,

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Our war is fought on the battlefield of our minds. We demolish arguments with truth and shine light on every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. Notice how much Scripture is used to debunk the lie that a bad thought is a sin. Instead, we recognize it for what it is, a temptation, and take it captive by being obedient to Christ. We can’t do it on our own. We need the guidance, training and encouragement of the Holy Spirit. We need to BRACE,

B-breathe: four counts inhale, four counts hold, eight counts controlled exhale. Repeat.
R-recall Scripture that helps to refocus our thoughts, like Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
A-ask the Lord for help. Talk to Him about what you’re thinking and how to beat the “feels.”
C-call or text someone for accountability. Just focusing on someone safe helps.
E-escape the situation. Remember this, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Is a bad thought a sin? No. We recognize it because the Spirit convicts us of righteousness (we know what is right). It becomes a sin when we allow it to take root in our hearts through deceitful desires (Eph. 4:22) and gives birth to sin (James 1:15). Jesus wants us to be “blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then we will shine among them like stars in the sky as we hold firmly to the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16).

Abba, You have called us to be like You. In order to be like You, we must think like You. Change the way we think by transforming our minds (Romans 12:2). It’s a good thing You’re helping us! Amen.

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