Do Christians struggle with their thoughts and imaginations?
All Christians are human and do struggle with their thoughts patterns almost on a daily basis. We usually cannot control what “pops into our mind” but we can guard against of allowing these thoughts to have prevalent part of our lives and shift our thinking onto things that will lift us up and give honor and glory to God. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Printable version link is at the bottom of this page.
Temptation is not a sin but it can lead to sin. The Bible says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death.” James 1:14,15. A thought or seeing something pleasurable is not sin but dwelling on something we all know is wrong will definitely lead to sin. Jesus was even tempted in the wilderness but he had to rely on the Word and refrained from all appearance of evil. We too have the same power to prevail over temptation by allowing God's presence to dictate the course for our lives.
Fantasies and imaginations can take a foothold in the mind. They can be harmless or harmful (lustful) but must be judged or evaluated immediately. Sexual feelings and romantic attractions are normal, healthy gifts from god. Prolonged sexual thoughts or pornographic materials are against the very nature of God and violate all Biblical standards. These, if not dealt with, will often lead to a very stagnate relationship with the Lord. Satan will always try to temp us, that seems to be his business. Giving into his temptation will separate us from the things of God.
God is more interested in what we do with these thoughts than the thoughts themselves. Jesus commanded for Satan to “leave”. He has also given us the power to command Satan to leave our thought process at that moment and to start dwelling on things a Christian should be dwelling on. As Christians, we are the righteousness of God and should not allow anything sinful to enter into this body that is dedicated for God's service. Too many Christians today allow things to “corrupt” their minds. It could come in the form of a book, magazine, movie or television. Controlling or guarding against things that will negatively affect our relationship with God, is vital to every Christian.
When temptation comes into our mind, we should have the power to resist. Continually having the mind of Christ and guarding against anything that comes against it is a goal for every believer.
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