i'm just gonna get right into it: how many of you know that your mind is really the battlefield when it comes to sin? you don't usually sin out of nowhere. things don't happen out of left field. it starts as a little seed in the mind. tiny, sometimes unnoticed, harmless even. or so you reason. you entertain it more frequently, and you justify it a little more, you convince yourself it isn't so bad. everyone else is doing it. okay, at least a few other people are doing it. i deserve it. i deserve to think or feel this way. until one day it doesn't look so bad and you partake. in sin. sometimes the thought patterns seem unrelated to the actual sin that's later manifested. they're completely related. it's a tangled web we weave, isn't it? that's why it's called deceit.
sometimes you figure you can stay out of sin just by keeping busy. that you won't have time to sin if there are too many other things on your plate. gosh, is that ever a lie? this is when we're most vulnerable, isn't it? rushing around, stressed out, in a hurry... it's easy to sin when we're busy. and my goodness, when i'm running errands or cleaning or flying from one thing to the next, my mind is still fully capable of thinking. i often do my "best" thinking while i scrub the stove and countertops, fold the laundry, and clean the toilets [i loathe the toilets. that chore should be completed way more often than it really is].
i've learned, and maybe you have too, that the only way to combat the ongoing battle that starts in the mind, is to fill it with scripture. period. there is no other remedy. it's that vital. i'm talking: reading your Bible daily [or two or three times daily if you need to], plastering scripture all over your house and your bathroom and your car. reciting it over and over when the battle heats up.
struggling with bitterness? struggling with resentment? depression, discouragement, loss of hope? these thoughts can lead to serious patterns of sin if we let them get that far. can't resist your sixth helping of chocolate cake in the past hour, or swiping the credit card just one more time because that dress was made for you? it all starts in the mind.
there's a good reason that Paul urges the Philippians to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. because then we won't have room to think about anything else. fill your mind with God's word, with Truth, and you'll be more equipped to recognize the lies when they come.
i've been typing out verses as i find them, so that i can flip through them at any given time. some are on the refrigerator, some are tucked in my purse. some are hanging on the wall, framed or tacked to a corkboard. most of them are sitting on the kitchen table for easy access. when i have a free minute, i'll just read through them all. practice them out loud. hide His word in my heart. like Deuteronomy says:
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:7-9
i'd encourage you to make His word the constant in your life. everything else that happens are the variables, totally out of our control. when you're grounded in His word, it will make all the difference. i could write three more pages on this, but i won't. i think you sort of get the point.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-3
if you want to print out some of the lovely verses that i've put together for myself, please go ahead. they're on 8.5x11 sized paper, and there are little lines that show you where to cut them into separate 3x5s so you can glue them onto an index card. i have some fancier prints in my etsy shop too :) any specific verses you'd love to see? let me know, i really can't have too many, so i'd love to create some more.