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Combatting the pervasive descent into the moral abyss at its source

Guard Your Thoughts "21-thoughts-to-live-by"

With each new day it seems the media is filled with more reports of moral failures, government scandals, and escalating crime. Lawmakers are constantly passing new laws with the hope of controlling citizens, preventing national tragedies, and providing temporary assistance to those suffering the consequences of eroding family values, joblessness, and generational poverty while they themselves cannot even follow the basic tenants of the U.S. Constitution. Government and justice officials cannot stem the tide of moral erosion because their focus is on outward behaviors, while the source of the moral failing is within the human heart. The battle for a pure heart begins in the mind. A mind that dwells on evil thoughts will allow sinful desires to take root in the heart. Those desires will eventually give way to sinful actions. Thus, the best way to prevent sinful behaviors is to guard the mind.

"Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:15)

The best antidote for temptation to sin is to take every thought captive for Christ.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

In the beginning, God created mankind in His own image. Unlike all other created living things, only men and women have a mind like God’s with the ability to think, reason, feel, and express emotion. (Genesis 1: 26-27) While other creatures have no choice but to follow their natural instinct, human actions are volitional, chosen according to the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. Sin is a choice, and every battle against sin begins in the mind.

Genesis 3 describes this battle of the mind in action. The serpent approached Eve in the garden and placed doubt in her mind with these words, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (vs. 1) Eve repeated God’s instruction, but she also added “and you must not touch it” (vs. 2), which suggests that she was beginning to forget God’s exact instruction given in Genesis 2: 16. Then Satan lied to her saying, “You will not certainly die.” (vs. 4) With doubt and deceit filling her mind, Eve then gave way to her desire for what God had forbidden by taking the fruit and sharing it with Adam. (vs. 6) Death eventually followed just as God had said, not only for Adam and Eve, but also for all generations to follow. (James 1:14-16) How differently this story would have ended if Eve had instead chosen to guard her thoughts.

To guard one's thoughts effectively, he or she must put on the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5) Having the mind of Christ requires knowing God and His truth as revealed in His word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who enters the heart of every committed believer at the moment of salvation.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

God desires to fill His people with His truth which will deflect any arrow of deceit the enemy may hurl at them. God commanded His people in Joshua 1:8 to meditate on His Law day and night and to obey all of it so that they may have prosperity and success. The Lord promised His people that when the Messiah came, He would write His law in the minds and hearts of His people. (Jeremiah 31:33) It is imperative that believers know His word well, without adding to it, distorting it, or taking away from it, so that they may quickly recognize any falsehood and dismiss it before it takes root in their minds.

God’s word also explains what should consume human thoughts. Men should dwell on that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) Those who are trained to identify counterfeit money study authentic currency instead of various counterfeits until they know the real currency so perfectly that any deviation from what is truly genuine becomes blatantly obvious. Thoughts are kept secure when the mind is fixed on God’ truth and on all that is consistent with his character. Then any hint of falsehood or corruption may be instantly identified and dismissed from the mind.

Finally, believers must regularly renew their minds with God’s truth as He transforms them into His image. (Romans 12:2) Writing out His truths in a journal and reflecting on them helps to remember them. Seeking honest accountability from trustworthy, faith filled friends adds another hedge of protection as believers strive to guard their thoughts and keep their minds renewed in Christ.

The following list of lies people often believe with God's truths to refute each lie are a useful resource for daily struggles to defeat Satan's lies with the truth so that every thought may be taken captive to obedience to Christ.

Lie #1: It’s hopeless and impossible.

Truth: All things are possible through Christ (Luke 18:27)

Lie #2: No one loves you.

Truth: God loves you perfectly forever. (John 3:16, Jeremiah 31:3)

Lie #3: Life is overwhelming, so give up!

Truth: God's grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) He will help and deliver you. (Psalm 91:15)

Lie #4: You can’t do it.

Truth: In Christ, you can do all things. (Philippians 4:13)

Lie #5: If you try, you will fail.

Truth: God will equip you to abound in good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

Lie #6: God is not good if He let that happen.

Truth: God works all things together for good. (Romans 8:28)

Lie #7: God won't forgive you for that.

Truth: Confess, and He will forgive you. (John 1:9)

Lie #8: You can’t forgive yourself.

Truth: There is no condemnation in Christ. (Romans 8:1)

Lie #9: You are all alone.

Truth: God will never leave or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Lie #10: You have no value because value depends upon physical appearance.

Truth: You are wonderfully made. (Psalm 139: 13-15) Your inner beauty is of greatest worth. (1 Peter 3:4)

Lie #11: You need to look out for yourself first.

Truth: We are all much better off if we put others before ourselves. (Philippians 2: 3-5)

Lie #12: No one will ever know.

Truth: God is omniscient and omnipresent. He sees everything you do. (Psalm 139: 7-8)

Lie #13: If you do this deed, no one will get hurt.

Truth: All sin has far reaching consequences. (Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 12: 12-26)

Lie #14: Truth is relative, so what is wrong for one person can be right for you.

Truth: Truth is only found in Christ, and by definition truth cannot contradict itself. (John 14:6)

References and Recommendations For Further Study:

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