Don’t you hate that moment about 5 seconds after you mess up?
You’re almost done mopping the house, when you turn around and see your son has let the muddy dog inside. You explode.
You’re drinking coffee with a friend and a name is brought up. You let fly all your negative thoughts on that subject!
Everything has gone wrong all day. When you get home, you walk in the door muttering and share your complaints, along with your mood, with the rest of the house.
Later, be it 5 seconds, a couple hours, or a day, you realize that you have sinned again, and hurt other people in the process.
If only you hadn’t worked so hard mopping, or if only that name hadn’t been brought up, or if only it hadn’t been such a bad day!
We want to live in a Christ-like way in every aspect of our lives, but it so often feels like when the right circumstances get together, there is just no stopping us from doing something sinful.It often feels like there are circumstances in which there is no stopping us from sinning... Click To Tweet
Thankfully, though, that’s not true. There is a way to stop sin before we get to that moment of regret.
It starts with knowing that actions are the result, not the cause. We tend to focus so much on doing the right things that we miss the real problem entirely.Our actions are the RESULT... Click To Tweet
While Jesus was here on Earth, He explained it this way:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
In other words, it’s really a heart issue. If we have gotten to the point that we are actually taking action to sin against God, even if it is small action, our heart has already wandered away long before. Murder is wrong, but thinking hateful thoughts is just as wrong, even if no action is taken. Adultery is wrong, but lust is just as wrong even if no action is taken. In both of those situations, Jesus was pointing at a heart that had gone astray as the real problem.
That means the key to fighting sin is being vigilant about our thoughts and our mindset, so that we are in a right place when the temptation arises.
Luke 6:24 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Our words and our actions come from where our heart is and whether or not it is aligned with God’s. Stopping ourselves in those moments of emotional temptation is only possible if we have been filling ourselves up with God’s truth regularly before then.
This is why it is so important to be reading the Bible daily, memorizing verses, and actively working to grow in areas we struggle in.
The time to stop tomorrow’s sin is today.The time to stop tomorrow's sin is today. Click To Tweet
Growth is slow, and our hearts are very human. We will still mess up and we will still make wrong choices. We each sin against God daily.
But God wants to help us to grow to be more and more like His Son. As we are intentionally aligning ourselves with Him each day, we will find ourselves better and better equipped to handle those emotional situations.
Without noticing it, you will have made room for the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in you (Galatians 5:22-23) and you will have the tools you need to live in a more Christ-like way, no matter what your situation.