How do I keep from sinning?
Simple. Stop thinking about it.
Let me explain from scripture and then from examples:
James 1:14–15 (ESV) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Look at the word in bold – “conceived.” That’s a word with a few English definitions and not back accident put in this scripture by divine orchestration.
To “conceive” can refer to (as it does in James 1:15) the moment a child is made alive in the womb of its mother. But the word can also mean to think about something as in “I never could have conceived of such a thought.”
Think about the “art” of making a baby. It doesn’t happen the moment man and wife come together in intimacy. Pardon my indiscretion but any Junior High Health class reveals it takes time for the primary ingredients to mix (your blushing but bear with me). That is what I believe James is showing us about desire and sin. We fail because we think about failing. The more you think about an evil desire – the more intimate and close you become with it, to the point that conception finally happens and the sin is birthed.
The solution? Stop thinking about what you shouldn’t want.
Change your thoughts. YES, you CAN can do this. How do I know? Because we do it all the time.
I’ll give you some examples:
- You’re about to talk about a person behind their back when they suddenly walk in the room.
- You’re about to click on the mouse when you hear someone coming.
- You’re about to blatantly lie when the person who knows the truth shows up.
- You’re moments from stealing that small item when the store clerk turns down the aisle.
- You’re about to “flip” another car selected sign language when you realize they go to your church!
The next time you’re tempted, simply remember, God is ALREADY there. And if you don’t think so – invite Him. “Holy Spirit, I acknowledge you and I invite you here, help me do what is right and think differently about this moment.”
Done. Thoughts changed, heart renewed, sin avoided.