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Greg Laurie: Are Thoughts Sin?

Maybe you’re living in an ungodly place right now. Maybe you’re the only believer in your family or the only Christian in your neighborhood. Maybe you’re the only Christian in your classroom or in your workplace. You know what it’s like to be in a wicked place. You’re thinking, “It’s hard. I’m surrounded by temptation day and night. I don’t know that I can stay pure in a place like this.”

Temptation isn’t a sin; it is a call to battle.

Joseph was able to. And his life shows us there is a blessing waiting for the man or the woman who resists temptation. I know it’s hard to watch your thoughts in the moment. I know the pressure is on. I know it isn’t easy. But say no to temptation, and you will be blessed. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (NKJV). That word blessed could just as easily be translated “happy.” Happy is the man or the woman who resists temptation.

Everyone will be tempted. But temptation isn’t a sin; it is a call to battle. It can even be an indication that you’re moving in the right direction. After all, Jesus was tempted at the beginning and the end of his ministry. If he faced it, why do we think it will be any different for us?

There are consequences to sin. Joseph understood that. No matter how clever someone thinks they have been in covering it up, their sin will find them out. God’s standards are absolute; they don’t change. Even if what you’re being tempted to do might be socially acceptable, even though everyone is doing it, it doesn’t matter. God holds us to a higher standard.

Are thoughts sin? As you struggle with the need to watch your thoughts, realize that all sin is against God. Our love for God should be our greatest deterrent against sin.

As for Joseph, he prospered. But that prosperity included spending some time in prison after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape. It looked like a bleak scenario, but things worked out very well for Joseph in the end.

Are thoughts sin? Well, maybe you’ve been considering something that you know is wrong before God. You’ve said, “I’m not doing it yet. I’m just thinking about it.”

Are thoughts sin? Don’t even think about it. It has been said, “Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” It starts with a thought. Don’t even start down that road.

Joseph lived a godly life, and you can live a godly life, too. God will give you the strength to be the man or woman he wants you to be.

 

This article about are thoughts sin? originally appeared here.