“The mind is the leader or forerunner of all actions.” – Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind
Lust, murder, cheating, embezzlement, and the likes all originate from the heart (Matt15:19) then it is the mind that plans and carries out these actions. We’re constantly bombarded with different thoughts throughout the day: Watching a kissing scene in a movie can ignite lust in us, or ruminating on past offensive words said to us can produce anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness. Our mind is a battlefield, it’s a war between the flesh and the Spirit, living in a sex-saturated world does not help one bit and when it comes to lustful thoughts, i.e. when prone to think about sexual matters, this is even the worst! 1 Corinthians 6:18 says “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” Do we commit sexual immorality when thinking lustfully? Yes, according to Matthew 5:28. And even if we’re not lusting after a particular man/woman, this continuous thought process can later lead to sexual immorality, remember the quote above: “The mind is the leader or forerunner of all actions.”
When we entertain lustful thoughts, it renders us spiritually weak as we’re no longer focused on the things of God. Then when temptations such as fornication comes, it’s harder to resist because we’ve already yielded to the devil. Personally, I strongly believe that those of us who willingly engaged in premarital sex didn’t fall all of a sudden. It started off with a heart slightly departing from the Lord as Matthew 15:19 says then our mind became filled with lustful thoughts and afterwards the action followed. So, as heirs of the Kingdom, how do we resist these tempting thoughts in order to walk in holiness?
Well, we have to go back to the sequence discussed earlier: Heart→Mind→Action
HEART: Since evil originates from the heart, we need to walk in obedience to God’s Word to have a change of heart. Psalms 119:9-11 “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”
MIND: Read, meditate, and memorize Bible verses/passages frequently. Why? In order to choke off lustful thoughts of your mind. Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
ACTION: Be careful about what you watch, read, or listen to. Stay away from movies, tv shows, magazines, or music that can trigger sexual thoughts in your mind. Moreover, intentionally discipline yourself to rebuke lustful thoughts through prayer, praise, meditation of the Word, etc. Sometimes you can take all the necessary measures to distance yourself from tempting media, yet because we live in a sex-saturated society, you can still be exposed to sexual things, that’s why you need to discipline yourself: Always run to Jesus.
Though we live in the world, we are not of the world; the Holy Spirit is the One to take control of our mind and not the devil. Let’s not entertain lustful thoughts.