Daily Devotional for Saturday March 1, 2003

When is Sin, Sin?

(Matthew 15:19, James 1:15)

When is sin, sin? One of the common questions I get daily, is when does sin become sin. In the sexual area, people often ask if as long as there is no intercourse, is it still sin? Let me use this analogy to clarify this issue for you. Just like life begins at conception, sin becomes sin at conception. The Bible tells us that sin actually starts in our heart. From the heart it progresses to our head. Lastly, it is manifested in our actions.

We don't just fornicate. The lust starts in our heart, then travels to our brain where it is nurtured, and then is actually committed with our bodies. That is why Jesus said that if you lust in your heart, you have already committed the act. You see my friend, you can't play games with sin. You can't try to straddle the fence between committing sin and not committing sin, it just doesn't work that way. Sin is not something to see how close you can get to, but it is something to stay as far away from as possible. The Bible even tells us to FLEE from temptation for this very reason.

The best way to stay away from sin is by being aware of the path sin takes. As the Bible tells us, it starts in our heart. David prayed, "create in me a clean heart Lord". That should be our prayer as well. We need God to make our heart clean and pure, since that is the place sin is born. The good news is that God is in the heart changing business. He will help you to clean up your heart and make it a heart tender towards the things of God.

>From the heart, sin goes into our mind where it grows. We have talked before about Romans 12:1 and the renewing of our minds. How important it is to watch what we put into our minds each day, and cleaning out some of the old junk that is already there from our past. We do that by being in the Word of God daily, using it as a spiritual cleansing agent. Purifying our heart, cleansing our mind is a process. It doesn't happen overnight. It happens each day as we pray, read the Bible. It happens as we are in church feeding our Spirits, serving God. When our focus is on the Lord, on the things of God, on His Word, it guards our heart from the evils of this world and it keeps our mind clean of sin.

Here is the bottom line. I have told you about the high cost of sin. How we end up paying and paying and paying for the sins we have committed. That is why the Lord has tried to show us a better way to live. He loves us. He doesn't want to see us suffer and go through so much pain. This life was never intended to be a time of pain, hurting, and failure. It was to be full of joy, peace, and victory as we serve and glorify our Lord.

As you turn away from sin, clean it out of your heart and mind, you find the abundance that the Lord promised us in this life. It is time to quit playing games with God. Quit trying to "be good and not sin" because once you start down that path, you have already lost. Long before you try to control your physical actions, you have already sinned. The goal is to root it out of your heart and mind. That way, your flesh has nothing directing it on a sinful course.

I love you and care about you. You can count on my prayers. Don't be discouraged by these words today, but be challenged by them. Many of you have been fighting a losing battle of beating sin by trying to keep your actions under control. We both know that never happens all the time. To defeat sin, you must start by making your heart and mind pure. If you don't defeat sin at those two places, your flesh is simply responding to what is in your heart and mind.

***THE KEY IS ROOTING SIN OUT OF YOUR HEART AND MIND. Once you understand this fact, then, and only then, will you be able to start getting victory over the sin in your life. Again, I will be praying for you. God will strengthen you and help you. Remember, Jesus Christ died on a cross 2000 years ago to give you victory over sin. Start living in that victory today!

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller