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“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.” – ESV

Sin begins in the mind. You don’t even have to do anything or act out in any way to sin. It comes so easily and naturally to us that we don’t even realize that it is happening most of the time. We tend to let our minds wonder about, thinking about whatever it wishes. It tends to be a safe place for our favorite sin, we hide it away in the inner most parts of our mind where no one can find it and no one knows about it. It’s the perfect hiding spot for the porn magazines and movies or memories of past sexual partners. Reliving and re-experiencing past images and memories, pondering and meditating till your heart’s content, all the while everyone else remains oblivious to your sexual fantasies playing out in your mind while you work, eat, watch tv, talk to your friends or even while having sex with your own wife. The mind is a powerful thing, it is a wonderful tool but it can be a dangerous snare.

Jesus, while preaching the “Sermon on the Mount” said, “You have heard that it was 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.” God’s standard is so high for his law that no one can keep it, this statement alone is so heavy on my own heart that I am ashamed at just how often I offend God with my thoughts. It is no wonder it is written, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, even as Christians we can’t measure up.

We all know the saying, “Idle hands are the Devil’s playground.” That is not true. As already stated you could be working and still be thinking sinful thoughts. It should go as, “An idle mind is the Devil’s playground.” An idle mind is an undisciplined mind, a wondering mind. As Christians we need to be disciplined in every aspect of our lives. It is not enough to just control our actions, though that does take much strength, the real battle is in the mind. For it is the thoughts of our mind that control our actions. Without a change of mind, your outward conformity will fail. Like a tree with a rotten core, the slightest push will knock it down. We need to be transplanted, we need to change our minds. Like it says in Psalms 1,

“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The man who meditates on the Law of the Lord is like a tree planted by rivers of water. Alive, thriving, strong and mighty. We need to take our thoughts captive and replace them with the Word of God. We need to condition our minds to respond Godly in adversity rather than dive into self pity, cursing or rage and impatience. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” How do we do this? By Philippians 4:8.  Meditate on those things. Meditate on God and His word, His handiwork and majesty.

All scripture is taken from ESV.