December 19 I Wednesday
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
There is a sequence to the way temptation infiltrates our lives. Just as small temptations often lead to bigger temptations down the road, sin begins with the mind and moves to moral decisions.
All spiritual experience, whether good or bad, begins in the mind. When Satan tempted Eve, he opened with a question designed to confuse her. He asked, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Eve then responded, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die’” (Genesis 3:1-3). Eve was mostly correct. She was right to say they could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but God never said anything about not touching it.
What Satan did was cast Eve’s mind into doubt. He first implied that what God said was unreasonable, then he got her to think she had the right to “interpret” what He said. The devil responded with the challenge: “You will not certainly die… For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). These are all attacks on the mind. Satan broke down Eve’s resistance, getting her to rationalize that disobeying God would be for her good.
Temptation often begins with the idea that God’s Word is unreasonable. Some people dilute certain passages by saying, “God couldn’t have meant that literally” or “We live in a different cultural moment than back then.” But we must remember to let Scripture inform how we view the world, not how we view the world inform our reading of Scripture. The Bible reveals the mind of God, and without a firm rooting in His Word, we may begin to rationalize certain sins as acceptable.
The word “repent” literally means “to change one’s mind.” Satan convinced Eve to repent negatively, to change her mind from truth to error. When she consented, she made the moral decision to disobey God’s command shortly after. Repentance to Christ follows a similar pattern; mental thinking leads to moral choosing. God calls every believer to daily bring our minds into conformity with His truth. The temptation to sin will remain, but when we keep our minds fixed on what God has said, He will transform our hearts so that we increasingly desire to obey His Word and defend what is right.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I repent of my thinking that leads to choosing sin. Thank You that You are changing my heart to match Your Word and Your ways.