The Pathway to Sin Is Short
For reading & meditation - Romans 8
"To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." (v. 6, RSV)
Although it may be impossible to prevent evil thoughts from entering your mind, make a conscious decision not to entertain them. A well-worn phrase puts the same thought in this way: you can't stop the birds from flying into your hair, but you can prevent them from building nests. Burns, the famous poet, said that when he wished to compose a love song, his recipe was to put himself on "a regimen of admiring a beautiful woman." He deliberately filled his mind with pictures that were extremely dangerous to his passionate nature. Shairp, his biographer, said of him, "When the images came to be oft repeated, it cannot have tended to his peace of heart or his purity of life." Augustine, one of the great early Christians
, also trod this dangerous path. He came to Carthage with its tinseled vice and began at once to coax his own carnal appetites. He said: "I loved not as yet, yet I loved to love; and with an hidden want I abhorred myself that I wanted not. I befouled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I dimmed its lustre with the hell of lustfullness; and yet, foul and dishonorableas I was, I craved, through an excess of vanity to be thought elegant and vain. I fell; precipitately then." Augustine's experience, like that of many others, goes to show the folly of entertaining evil thoughts and desires. Make up your mind, then, that although you may not be able to stop evil thoughts crowding into your mind, you will not play host to them.
Prayer: Father, although I know what I should do, it is often hard - though not impossible - to do it. I give my will to You again today. Take it and strengthen it, so that it will do Your bidding. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
For Further Study
1. When do evil thoughts become sin?
2. How can we use our thought life productively?
More in Every Day Light, with Selwyn Hughes
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