One of the most important things a Christian must learn after coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is how to control the activity of his mind. A person may have a correct understanding of the love of God and the power of Christ’s blood to restore and redeem, but if the mind is left unruly and allowed to wander in unsupervised thought and fantasy, the believer will be overcome by the flesh again and again.
The unsupervised mind is like a promiscuous teenager. If left alone, it will sneak out a window to commit fornication with the first available idol it finds. There is a constant pull of lust within man which is always seeking to draw him out of God’s presence and into some enticement. Scripture teaches that every man is tempted when he is “drawn away of his own lust” (James 1:14). This means that lust is already in man, inbred into the flesh and seeking an opportunity to be “drawn out” by some kind of stimulus. The stimuli that draw our lusts out either come from within our own thoughts, from unlawful images and experiences previously uploaded and which are now resurfacing, or from an outside force injecting them in.
These enticements are the magnets which “draw” our indwelling lusts out into the open to be awakened and stirred. If our fleshly lusts make contact with these enticements, a conception can occur – an illegitimate spiritual pregnancy which brings forth sin (James 1:15), and then death. Our minds are like the wild donkey in Jeremiah, constantly sniffing the wind to find a mate, and available to any passerby who propositions her (Jer. 2:23). She must therefore be girded (I Peter 1:13). It is absolutely imperative that the believer in Christ recognize and regulate the harlotry of his mind. She must not be left alone in her room with strange men. They must driven out of her presence with the fiery sword of God’s Word, and her purity must be upheld and guarded. Shielding your mind from spiritual adultery is the responsibility of you, the donkey’s master. If you do not call on God for restraining grace and make a determinate effort to gird your thinking, your ship will always be wrecking on the tempestuous sea of Satan’s allurements.
Temptation arises when a troubadour comes to your mind’s window, with his mandolins and love songs and tries to draw her out into an illicit affair with him. These enticements may come through an invitation to sexually fantasize; to explode in anger; to assassinate someone’s character; to grab the biggest and best piece of food; to exaggerate a detail for some personal gain; to lose your patience; to whitewash a motive; to criticize a flaw of your neighbor; to be discontent with your wages or salary; to tell an off-color joke; to complain about an inconvenience, etc. “Come out to me,” the troubadour invites your lust’s ear. “Come out and let me embrace you; let me fulfill your deep cravings. Let us come together for a night of passion, and then you can return home. Your husband will forgive you!”
If your mind succumbs to temptation and leaps into her lover’s bosom, she conceives and becomes pregnant with sin. This is the clear teaching of God’s Word. This is why God’s Word says, “blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life…” (James 1:12). Beloved, we are called to remain sober and endure these songs. We are called by God to resist the impure advances and corrupt charms; to mortify the flesh’s lust; to shut the window and shield the music; to divert the attention. It is not merely enough to resist and divert, however; we must now train our mind’s attention upon a new Object of Affection.
I want to show you how you can drive the troubadour from the window every night. The next time you hear music outside the window, the next time you hear promises of ecstasy and passion waft up from the courtyard of your mind, you must call immediately upon the Lord. You must be able to say, “I reject these thoughts,” and then call instantly upon the Lord Jesus Christ for grace to overcome the seduction. This is mortification at its purest level.
As the promises of pleasure and delight echo from the lover in the shadows, fix your eyes upon Jesus and recall that the true “fullness of joy” is in His presence alone, and that in His right hand are the true “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). All else is vanity, a smokescreen. In the moment of need, call upon the Lord God for the grace to overcome through the holy blood of your Deliverer. He will manifest His glory and shield your mind from every fiery arrow. This is the Word of God. It is God’s promise written in His Son’s blood – the promise to sanctify you wholly, to keep you from falling and preserve you; to elevate you like an eagle above all seductions and deceits of lust. His is a transcending power! It is power which has already defeated Satan and has overcome the entire world and all the angelic armies of darkness. Do you wonder now how Paul could say, “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14)? What I am sharing with you is the secret.
Dear Christian, do you believe this? Are you now prepared to mortify? Is preserving the chastity of your mind worth putting to death all impulses of spiritual fornication and satanic solicitations? Cry out to God then in your time of need. Approach the throne of Jesus for the grace to drive out the enticements from your mind. Endure the trial and God’s grace will soon grant the victory! You need never lose joy; you need never complain; you need never succumb to a fiery dart; your lust need never commit adultery with temptation and conceive sin. Our Forerunner Jesus Christ endured the same temptations of the flesh and hell, for he was tempted on all points such as we are – yet without ever conceiving (Hebrews 4:15).
Behold your birthright! His purity can be yours by calling upon God the same way He did: by putting to death self; by faith in the promises of God’s Word; by faith in the sanctifying power of Christ’s blood; by the enablement of grace through the Holy Spirit. At the very moment of temptation, Christ is praying that you will stand fast and resist, that you will endure, that you will conquer and overcome through His life. That you may never doubt God’s love. Knowing this, dear Christian, may you stand in victory throughout all your trials, and be part of the conceptionless virgin bride the Father seeks for His Son.