Think On These Things, Part 4 – Cut. It. Out.

Instead of continuing with thinking on things that are lovely and commendable, I felt led to add another week to the topic of purity. This is such a dangerous struggle and one of the most difficult to overcome. Since last week’s was mostly about preventing ourselves from the temptations that lead to impure thoughts, I sensed a need to offer some help for when we are in the midst of this yucky part of our thought lives.
Matthew 5:27-30 says the following: “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

So… here are some things to ask yourself about your current thought life, along with steps to take to purify your thoughts.
 

First, ask yourself:
  1. What are my impure thoughts? Ask God to reveal to you any morally impure thoughts that you have been having. Ask Him to show you the ones that you dwell on, as well as the ones that Satan is constantly trying to put into your mind.
  2. When thoughts come in, am I trying to stop them? This is the big question. Thoughts only become sin when we CHOOSE to entertain them. All of us are tempted by lustful thoughts.
  3. What in my life is causing me to have these thoughts? This may be tough to answer because we don’t want to let go of “comforts” in our lives. Are you tempted by TV shows? Movies? Magazines? Books? Relationships in your life? Are you toying around with pornography?
Then…
  1. Confess. Spill it. Tell God all about it. (He already knows anyway.) Admit the thoughts you have been having and where they have been coming from.
  2. Repent. Let it go. Turn away. Ask God to turn you 180 degrees from your sin.
  3. Flee. Cut ANYTHING out of your life that is causing you to sin. TV show? Internet? Books/magazines? Relationship? Cut. It. Out. Very hard. I know. Been there. Just do it.
  4. Forgive yourself. Really. God has.
  5. Memorize scriptures that you can cling to when the temptations hit you again. Because they will. We do not stop being tempted because we ask forgiveness. Here are some scriptures to cling to: 
    • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – Romans 8:6-8
    • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16
    • But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. – Romans 13:14
    • So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:22
    • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
    • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you. – Isaiah 26:3a
    • Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. – 1 Corinthians 6:18

God is faithful. He provides an escape for us when we are tempted by the evil desires of our flesh. Trust Him. He is our only defense against Satan’s mind games. We cannot do it in our own strength. Satan is too powerful. Only God can fight the battle for us. May we all check ourselves of this struggle daily and may we allow God to win!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8


Next week: Think on things that are lovely and commendable.


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