5 Ways To Avoid Sinful Habits or Thoughts

by David Peach on September 22, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

The Bible tells us that it is important to guard our minds from sinful thoughts. From wrong thinking comes wrong actions. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” This verse says that to guard your heart it will take diligence. That means it is something that doesn’t happen without effort. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we need to bring wrong thoughts into captivity. We must control our mind so that we can obey Christ. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

So how are you to fill your mind with the right thoughts? How can you fight this war against wicked thinking. Here are five ways to help you avoid sinful thoughts which become wrong habits.

Fill Your Mind With God’s Word

Philippians 4:8 “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.”

The Bible fits the description of all these things that Paul writes about in Philippians. When you pack your mind with songs full of ungodly lyrics you can’t expect to have pure thoughts. You need to focus on the true, honest and pure teaching of the Bible.

Memorizing Bible verses and passages is a great way to fill your mind with God’s Word. Look at some of the many verse lists we have here at What Christians Want to Know: Bible Verses by Topic and start memorizing God’s Word. If you are memorizing and meditating on the Bible then it will begin to push out the ungodly thoughts from the world and your past.

Keep Your Mind Clean

Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

As the verse in 2 Corinthians reminds us, the battle for your mind is an active one. It is not something that you can passively win. You must work to keep your mind pure. The psalmist says that he would set no wicked thing before his eyes. Job covenanted with himself to keep his eyes pure because he knew that men are attracted by what they see. These two verses say that if we can keep our eyes from seeing things that are wicked then the likelihood of keeping a pure mind is greater.

Yet, there is a daily battle for your eyes. Driving down the road introduces you to billboards that promote nudity, sex and sin larger than life. You must guard your eyes. You may think, “Well, I can’t control that. I have to drive that way to work.” That may be true, but let me ask you about the things you can control. What are you watching on TV? What about the movies you watch or the books and magazines you read? I am not just talking about the obviously wicked items. You need to guard your eyes from many things on prime-time television. A casual glance through health magazines at the doctor’s office can bombard your eyes and mind with ungodly images that stir up evil thoughts.

Yes, it is a battle, but it is a battle that we have been given the tools with which to fight.

Establish Accountability with Someone

Hebrews 10:24, 25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Find a friend who can hold you accountable. Meet with them regularly either in person, over the phone or through the Internet. I have an accountability partner that I regularly email to let him know what is going on in my life. He knows that when I don’t write him on a regular basis it is because there is something I am not wanting to share about what is going on in life. Knowing that he expects me to report to him helps keep me accountable.

Proverbs 11:14 and 15:22 say that we should surround ourselves with counselors. These are church friends and other mature Christians who can help with accountability. Being around other people who want you to do right will give you good examples for how to live.

View Others with Godly Eyes

I will set no wicked thing before my eyes

1 Timothy 5:1, 2 “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

Think of other people as your brothers and sisters. Even if the person is an unbeliever, you should still love them like a sister. There are many stories in the Bible where Jesus interacted with women. Sometimes they were vulnerable emotionally or physically. However, you never see Jesus acting inappropriately toward them. He always treated them in a godly and wholesome way. He treated them like they were part of His family.

When you view other people as objects to be desired then it is hard to have godly thoughts toward them. Remember that even those who improperly display their bodies is someone’s daughter, mother, brother or son. They may not be doing right, but that does not give you a license to take advantage of them or to allow your mind to continue towards unholy thoughts and actions.

Avoid Temptation

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

This verse has been the most helpful verse to me in overcoming wrong thoughts which lead to wrong actions in my life. Paul says that we should not make an easy way for the flesh to win. Have you noticed a pattern in the temptation in your life? Do you typically fall into sin at the same places or with the same people? I noticed that in my life that was true. I learned that I could choose to stay out of those places or stay away from those people and activities that would cause me to sin.

Often we make temptation easy for ourselves. We don’t try to avoid it. We want to play as close to it as we can but then get upset when we fall into the sin. If you want to avoid the sin, then avoid the situations that give you an opportunity to sin. Don’t play with temptation and then claim that the devil made you do it. That is a lie that you may be telling yourself, but you know it is not true. We often bring the temptation and sin upon ourselves. Claim the power of Romans 13:14 and have confidence that the God who wrote this in His Word has the power to help you apply it in your life.

Conclusion

Avoiding sinful thoughts is not impossible; remember these things:

  • Be careful to fill your mind with God’s Word
  • Keep your mind clean (avoid the things that pollute your mind)
  • Establish accountability with a fellow believer and keep in touch
  • View others with godly eyes (even when they do not dress or act godly)
  • Avoid temptation – listen when the Holy Spirit prompts you to stay away

God has a reward for your endurance:

James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 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.”

If you liked this article you might also like these similar posts:

Resources:

The Holy Bible, King James Version

YouTube video “Draw Me Close to You” by Michael W. Smith



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

ALexandra September 22, 2012 at 9:10 am

i like this, it is a world changer message thank you

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Linda September 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

Praise God for His Word I Love it when the Holy Spirit teaches us His truth . The Holy Spirit lead me to. read Proverbs chapter 4 confirming to guard my heart and ex-specially my mind again wicked thoughts. Thank u. I read prob 4 then the article piped up on my email confirmation

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Ronald gichaga September 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Its very much encoraging word 4rom god

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Kayode September 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Thank you for this article,may God uphold you.
I’ve been trying all my possible best so far to stay away from sin and wrong thought but as gentle as i am,i always find it difficult to do this.in my street there are some ladies that use to seduce me with there dressing and there behaviour,and at time am angry when i’ve been provoked.
But,as i read your article now,i will know how to adjust from all this sinful act.please help me in prayer,may God reward you as you are winning souls.

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Hwee Hwee Tan September 25, 2012 at 4:22 am

I find listening to sermons very helpful in keeping my mind free of sinful thoughts. There’s something about the spoken word that makes it different from the written word. When you hear someone else proclaim the truth, when they speak positive words into your life, this energizes you, there’s a level of persuasiveness and positive peer pressure that is very helpful to making sure you keep your mind free from sin. Having a friend who can speak encouraging words to you when you down is also great.

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Derek Hill September 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm

God’s timing is always perfect David. Thank you for this article. This was exactly what I needed to read today. I have been struggling a bit with the war of the flesh. Like Paul I do the things I don’t want to and I don’t do the things that I want to do. This was very helpful and edifying. Praise the Lord and blessings upon you!

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Nicholas September 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I have found myself remembering things actually bad language , and thoughts of a comedian , and I relate it to myself taking with ignorants , or being evil , I know I should put away these evil things , memorizing Bible verses sounds like a perfect way to help with this . I can remember reciting the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2 in my second grade school class . It sure is terrible how schools will not do that now , I hardly see churches doing Bible drills where we use to race to find a verse . Churches need to get back to things like that too , it introduced me to how GOD’s word can help you with any problem .

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Nicholas September 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I love the part about memorizing Bible verses in this article , just a few seconds of thinking about this made me realize how as a young child we would close our Bibles and race to find a verse with other children , this really helped me to grow into knowing that GOD speaks to you through HIS word , and helps with all your problems .

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NWONYE PROSPER September 27, 2012 at 5:35 am

FIRSTLY I WAÑA THANK THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE COS GOD USED YOU TO TOUCH MY LIFE AND THERE IS NO WAY I CAN SAY AM NOT FAULTY OF ALL THESE BUT I PRAY THAT GOD WHO IS RICH IN MERCY HELPS ME OUT OF MY SINFUL LIFE

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Robert September 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

A timely and vital topic, David.
Great article. It is so important that we keep our thought-life under control. Sin begins there. Thank you for this article. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Rabecca Mwambi November 28, 2012 at 4:58 am

Great article, thanks.

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Nicholas November 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

I recently heard a preacher bring to light where it says in the Lord’s Prayer lead us not into temptation , and he shared that we are tempted as Jesus was , and still another preacher was saying how if we are tempted we think about a sin , and some say if we thought of it we may as well did it , but he said if we are able to overcome doing the sin we have grown in Christ . I find so much pleasure in finding out more and more about GOD’s word , thank-you so much !!!

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Kevin December 13, 2012 at 2:33 am

Thank you Mr. Peach. I always suffer this daily even working something and instantly I call on the name of the LORD sing hymns because i know that what i imagining is good in my flesh and what is good in our flesh is corruptible and evil. God bless you

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Eugene February 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm

So apposite, so true. You have a way of simplifying issues that look impossible. A good means of keeping the faithful in line. God bless.

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Francis June 2, 2013 at 6:02 am

Hello Brethren,

Thanks for this article…a very relevant subject.
I especially like the point about “Establishing Accountability with Someone.”

May God bless your ministry.

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LOBADUNGZE BITRUS August 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

keep the good work of God.

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Eddie January 12, 2014 at 1:15 am

After a permanent struggle with sin in my life (internet pornography), despite my wholehearted desire to please God as I am a believer, I continually experience God’s mercy and grace towards me. The devil has kept trying to prevent me from coming back to God for forgiveness whenever I sin, but as I feel convicted by His Holy Spirit and my spirit gets overwhelmed by the sadness, emptiness and helplessness that sin brings with it, the Spirit of God leads me to yield myself to Him in prayer and cry to Him in Jesus name, for His forgiveness, and for changing my heart completely. I can acknowledge then how God is good, as He gently restores His peace, hope and joy in my life. Nothing is worst in life than the realization of having lost your relationship with God due to sin. Likewise, nothing is better in life than having peace with God and experiencing His love and protection every day as you put Him at the Centre of your life.
Now, after many years, I know for certain that only Love can give you victory over sin and over the Devil. Yes, it is the love from those who love me, first from God thru Jesus Christ, second from my wife and my 9 yr-old son, and third from others. God shows His love to me at all times in many ways, and it has the power to humble me and to change me. In a similar way, the love from my wife and son also touches and humbles me as it makes me accountable to God who has entrusted them to me. How unbearable it is to realize that when I sin, it carries curses not only upon myself but also upon my household, even until the 4th or 5th generation, then I can’t help of thinking of my loving son and wife, and I feel overwhelmed by sadness as I do not want them to pay the consequences of my sin. They are surely innocent. I also know that my obedience to God can bring all the blessings to my household, as God is faithful to His promises, then I realize I have to choose well, to do good so I and my family can live, and not to chose evil which will surely lead me and my family to death and destruction. These thoughts have helped me overcome the sin of immorality, and despite that the battle takes place at every moment, in my mind, now I know that the love of God for me thru Christ and the love that God gives me thru my dear wife and son, and thru so many other people, it can defeat the world as it is stronger than any temptation to sin. stronger than the devil, stronger than anything in this life. Praise God! Thank you LORD Jesus you have defeated the world, and the devil, and your victory is also also my victory, and my household’s victory everyday and forever. Amen!

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