So we’ve come to understand that sin begins in our hearts. We’ve come to understand that sin is because we want, we desire, we are selfish. We may be somewhat successful at changing our outward behavior but the only real way to embrace your Christian life, to glorify God, is by thinking according to His Word. “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.” Romans 12:2 ESV. The only way to know the heart of God, the only way to embrace your life in Christ is learning the Word of God and following, obeying to bring you into deeper understanding of God, His ways and how our sin affects everyone and everything around us.
I want to learn more and I’m sure that you do too! You want to be the best that you can be. You want to hear these words at the end of your earthly journey as much as I do “Well done good and faithful servant.” I want to be an excellent wife to Hubs… but still there are thoughts that invade my mind, thoughts that send me to repentance more often than I would care to admit. How do I overcome these thoughts? With the help of the Holy Spirit, of course!
We must learn put off wrong thoughts and put on new thoughts. Just as we took off our old selves and put on our new selves, so must we do the same with our thoughts. Changing our sinful thoughts takes work, I never said this new life would be easy and neither did God. So it’s time to get to work!
We have to understand thoughts that are selfish, unloving, vengeful, bitter, angry or any way not beneficial or uplifting. You may say “these are my thoughts and I’m entitled to them”. Really? Seriously? If our thoughts can harm others why would we want to hold on to these thoughts? Just because you don’t say the thoughts out loud doesn’t mean they aren’t heard. Our thoughts manifest outward in our attitude! I know when I’m irritated with Hubs, he knows… I don’t have to say a word. He will avoid me at all costs, knowing that in time I will tell him, but until that time comes stay clear. I know if you open your heart and be honest with yourself you’ll see it too. We do it with our husbands, our children, our friends, everyone around us.
Let’s imagine, picture, Jesus. Imagine you are there, hearing Him teach. Imagine His face. What does it look like? Do you see in His face, love? Do you see in His face, gentleness? Do you see in His face, peace?
Let’s imagine, picture, ourselves. Imagine you are going through your day. Imagine your face. What does it look like? Do you see in your face, love? Do you see in your face, gentleness? Do you see in your face, peace?
When we recognize thoughts that are wrong, sinful thoughts ~ you’ll know, the Holy Spirit will let you know, as well as your own heart ~ repent! Confess those thoughts and feelings, let God know that you know the thought was sinful and just plain wrong. Since repentance requires us to “change our minds” we must change the thought. This is going to take work, I’m not kidding, a lot of work but day by day you will feel and see a change ~ God promises. Remember you are being trained for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7).
Martha gives us some examples to start with:
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “I hate him!” Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “I don’t feel love for him right now, but I choose to love him by responding in a kind way.”
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “There is no hope for this marriage!” Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “If he repents, there is nothing that I cannot forgive and we cannot work through.”
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “I can’t be what God wants me to be because my husband is not a righteous man.” Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “He may be a complete failure before God, but I do not have to be. I can be pleasing to God whether he is or not.”
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “I can’t take it anymore!” (My personal favorite!) Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “I can take the pressure since “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 ESV.
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “I don’t date tell him what I am thinking. If I do, he will think badly of me.” Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “I can learn to speak the truth in love. God will give me the grace to respond to his reaction whatever it is.”
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “I wish he would leave me alone.” Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “Thank You, Lord, for a husband who does want to be with me.”
- Wrong, Sinful Thought: “If he loved me, he would be romantic.” Now change to the Right, Godly Thought: “It (love) does not insist on its own way…” 1 Corinthians 13:5. What can I do to show love to him?
What are some of your Wrong, Sinful Thoughts? How can you change them to the Right, Godly Thought?
When I’m having those wrong, sinful thoughts… I (try) to remember to look up scripture about what I’m thinking, God will tell me (and you) just how to deal with the thought. I’ll write the verse down (I’m a big fan of index cards, notes on my phone and laptop screen, etc.), humbly confess the sin of my thoughts and memorize the verse. I’m understanding that by memorizing the verse, when the wrong, sinful thoughts pop into my head… God’s answer is already there! Even if I don’t get the memorization just right, the right, Godly thought is still there!
Martha says in the summary of this chapter, “Only, the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, could have provided a means to satisfy God’s righteous demands against sin. God does all of the work of man’s salvation. Salvation is by His grace, not based on any merit (however “kind”) within man. God’s provision for sin begins at the cross and continues with “grace to help” us grow and mature as Christians (Hebrews 4:16). With God’s grace, we can work diligently at “putting off” wrong, sinful thoughts and “putting on” biblically right thoughts and actions.”
“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,” 1 Peter 1:17 ESV.