As a Christian, do you know temptation itself is not sin? Even Jesus was tempted, but He never sinned. If you give in to temptation, then you have sinned. But do you also know temptation never comes directly from you? It can’t once you are joined with Christ.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, a Christian is a “new creation,” meaning our deepest and true self. Since this true self is holy, we cannot initiate sinful thoughts of any kind. It’s impossible. Your identity in Christ can initiate only thoughts that are good, wholesome, holy, and righteous.
For example, think about any thoughts you have of inadequacy. Do you ever have thoughts that make you feel insecure, worthless, or inferior to other people? Guess what. None of those thoughts come from you. Evil thoughts cannot originate within you, because only one true self is within you. It’s the new self, created in Christ when you believed in Him by faith.
Remember, you are not a sinner in your core. As a Christian, you are a saint in your core. That prevents any sinful thoughts originating from who you really are in Christ.
So you’re probably wondering, Why do I think sinful thoughts as a Christian? Here’s why. It appears as though sinful thoughts come from Satan and his demonic world. That’s why in Ephesians 6:11 we’re told, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
This tells us Satan and his demonic world strategize against us as Christians, trying to defeat us. One of his best strategies is to put sinful thoughts directly into our minds. Have you ever been praying and had a sinful thought come from nowhere? Sure. We all have.
I know we’ve touched briefly on this, but I’d really like to dig deeper here, because we often believe erroneously that tempting thoughts originate from us. I want to pull back the curtain so you can understand the real truth behind those thoughts.
Here’s Satan’s masterful trick: He can insert thoughts in your mind that sound just like you. He knows your human weaknesses and your strategies, where you tend to live independent from God. As a result, he will attempt to get you to live from the flesh in those same areas again anytime he can. And he will mimic your own internal voice to tempt you.
For instance, if you are a female from New York, Satan’s tempting or hurtful thoughts will sound like a female in your mind with your New York accent. If you are a male from Georgia, Satan’s thoughts will sound like a male with your Georgian accent. Satan can even mimic your fast or slow speech.
The thoughts may be in first person and use the word I or me. They may also be in the second person and use the word you. Can you understand why we believe tempting thoughts come from us? They sound just like us talking to ourselves in our heads.
When I teach this to Christians, I often see a visible sigh of relief. It’s a liberating feeling to understand that sinful thoughts don’t come from us. Why? As long as you believe sinful thoughts are your own, you will conclude that you’re a dirty, rotten sinner, and a horrible Christian. Naturally, you will define yourself as a terrible person because of the awful thoughts you think.
However, when you realize sinful thoughts don’t originate from you, it brings a sense of peace as you embrace another benefit of knowing who you are in Christ.
Pastor Tom Short talks about this in more detail during the once a year Spiritual Warfare by Grace Conference. You’ll be glad you invested your time to attend. Click here for more information and to register for this special Conference this weekend. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spiritual-warfare-by-grace-conference-charlotte-or-online-live-tickets-41850655437
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