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Waging War Against Impure Thoughts
When we win the battle of our thought life we begin to have victory over sexual sin.
Family Counseling Ministries -
Someone who has repeatedly fallen into sexual sin often comes to believe that he or she is helpless to win the war against immorality. In the first article in a seven-part series on conquering impure thoughts, Dr. Don Dunlap explains that when people fall into sinful sexual habits they feel powerless to overcome their disobedient lifestyles until they win the battle of their thought life. In the words of Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
Many Christians experience discouragement and often despair, because of their inability to conquer sinful sexual habits. I counsel people weekly who are involved in every sexual sin imaginableadultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, prostitution, masturbation, and pornography, to name a few.
A sinful action always begins in the mind.
They come seeking help because they feel powerless to overcome their disobedient lifestyles. They are unaware that they are fighting the wrong battle. Immoral actions grow out of impure thoughts. I encourage each of them with the scriptural truth that, as they win the battle of their thought-life, they will begin to have hope for victory over sinful actions. We read in Proverbs 23:7 that actions are the result of thoughts: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Many Christians have been trapped in sexual sin for so long that they have given up hope of ever being victorious over it.
People who have repeatedly fallen into sexual sin often come to believe that they are helpless to win the war against immorality. They resign themselves, instead, to reducing the number of defeats that they experience. God, however, commands us to fight sin wholeheartedly.
He does not permit us to settle for anything less than an all-out victory over sin. James reminds us in James 1:6,7,
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.
We must commit ourselves to resist sin, no matter what the cost may be.
When we expose our minds to sexually graphic images, we are unlikely to forget them.
We harm ourselves spiritually when we view sexually explicit movies or read unwholesome books or magazines that stir us sensually. From these ungodly sources, we collect secret pictures that exist in our minds.
When we encounter sexual temptation we revive these pictures and focus on them. These pictures fuel our impure thoughts. Fighting to remove the pictures from our minds usually does not work, but superimposing Gods pictures over them is an effective tactic.
Jesus died so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
The first vivid picture that we should have is that of Christ being bruised for our iniquities. In Scripture, the word iniquity is most often used to refer to moral impurity. David prayed in Psalm 51:2,
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity.
The galleries of our minds should include pictures of our own iniquities nailing Christ to the cross, and of His horrible suffering, and then of His triumphant death that freed us from the bondage of iniquity.
In Romans 6:6, Paul explains,
For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
Again in Romans 8:5-9, Paul provides us with a scriptural foundation for why we must discipline our minds to win the war against impure thoughts,
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit.
If Gods Spirit lives in us, our highest goal is to walk in a manner that is pleasing to our heavenly Father. The Bible tells us plainly that a sinful, lustful mind is hostile to God.