Have you ever gotten stuck in a sin battle that only took place in your thougts? Where you are in some weird alternate reality, entertaining thoughts that shouldn’t be entertained, walking down an imaginary road of sin that you shouldn’t have even stepped foot on. Sure, you didn’t actually DO anything, but your thoughts took off like a hurricane that couldn’t be contained. And before you knew it, your heart felt heavy, your ears felt deaf, and your eyes felt blind. You feel that wall that stands between you and peace, you and comfort, you and Jesus. Crazy right? It’s amazing how all that heaviness is birthed in your mind, in your thoughts. It’s pretty ridiculous how quickly we can be swept away.
Satan is a sneaky little tempter, and his favorite place to hang out is in our thoughts. He’s a sick little gardener who will plant seeds of sin and temptation. And the really crazy thing is that we help him out! We don’t just let the thoughts stay, we then cover them up, water them, cultivate them, and let them take root. Why do we do this? Because it feels fun, it feels risky, and worse it feels safe because….well it’s ONLY in our mind. But, where does every battle begin? A root of sin in the mind will turn into action. Eventually we will make good on that thought we have been mulling over for far too long. And besides that, God says that when we've entertained these thoughts, we've already sinned outwardly. Ouch.
Recently, while I was out to dinner with a friend, I accidentally verbally vomited all of the details of a sin battle I’d been entertaining in my head. I was instantly mortified and wished I could press the rewind button back to the part before I spilled my guts while we ate our chicken salads.
“Well, have you asked God to forgive you yet?” She asked.
I froze midway through taking a sip of water. Then, rolling my eyes, I felt like a huge idiot. How could I have forgotten to go to the One I should’ve gone to in the first place? No matter how long you have been walking with Jesus, we all need a reminder from time to time of the simplest practice. I had let these thoughts hang out and take root in my mind. It was past time to get rid of them and accept God’s forgiveness.
My friend and I dumped our trays in the bin that said “thank you” and walked back to our cars. While we walked we talked about how life was hard, how we wished we were stronger, and how we wished we could beat Satan over the head with a baseball bat. When we arrived to our cars, we created a small but powerful prayer circle where confession and forgiveness and lots of crying happened. I left that night thankful for friends that spoke the truth, a God who forgave, and the Holy Spirit who kept my thoughts from turning into actions.
We all have bad thoughts that pop into our heads. Understand that this isn’t sin, but it’s when you hang out with that thought for awhile and start to make friends with it that it will begin to take root. Don’t get comfortable and cozy up to those intentionally planted thoughts. As soon as you hear them, drop them like the missile they are. Don’t let the enemy take you down. And, if you’ve entertained them for any amount of time, give them to God and ask Him to forgive you. Start over from square one, this time maybe put a fence up so you can keep that sick little gardener out.