Lust • Devotion 5

Worship and the Mind
Pastor David Wilson

“The first look is okay but the second is lust, so make sure that your first look is a long one,” says a dad to his son as a woman walks by. That statement reveals something about that dad; he may believe impure thoughts are not sinning, as long as no physical actions are taken. Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:27-30 quite the opposite. The impure thoughts and the physical actions are not different. He starts with the reminder of the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).

We must understand that the commandments were rules God gave Moses in Sinai for the Israelites to know how to live a holy and perfect life before Him. Spoiler: no one can keep them. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” In the failure of one, we earn the full weight of the Law’s consequences. Jesus says the thoughts of the mind and intents of the heart have consequences too. Jesus Christ called us out of sin and washed us clean providing a new life with wisdom, guidance, and purpose.

Jesus presses on from recollection to illustration. Matthew 5:29-30 states how serious our impure and defiled mind is viewed by God and that we must deal with it immediately and harshly. Jesus illustrates that it would be better to sacrifice an important part of ourselves to save our whole being. We now have no excuses and are accountable to the knowledge given in these passages - the impure mind, though not physically acted upon, is still sin.

How can we guard our minds against sliding into unholy thoughts? What can we do when we recognize a failure in this area? We can stand firm on the truth of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confess the impure thoughts and God will cleanse you and forgive you.

We can put on the helmet of salvation to guard our minds against impurity. Get your brain washed by the Word! In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul instructs us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Paul provides a precious gem to help protect our minds and remain pure. Measure every thought by God’s Word, check whether or not it reflects a redeemed life. If it does not, then throw it away from your mind, never entertain it again; if it comes back, then throw it away again, and again, and again. To keep our body in subjection by obedience to the Word, we are expressing our faith in Jesus and I personally believe we are living in the sixth Beatitude - to be pure in heart. The pure heart and mind before the Lord honors Him and is worship.

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