Temptation is only wrong until you actually do it. But if you do it in your heart, in your mind, you've only thought so, you haven't done it yet. Of course, it's not good to even think that way because then you might do it. If you think evil you may do evil, so therefore it's not good to entertain bad thoughts! To keep entertaining bad thoughts and not doing anything to fight them nor resist them, that is wrong.
Temptation is the thought or the desire to do wrong. But it's not wrong until you do it. Jesus said if you look upon a woman, in lust after her, when she doesn't belong to you and the man doesn't want to give her to you, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.--Mat.5:28.
But that's only in your heart, it's not yet an actual sin, you've only thought about it, but you didn't do it. It's like my Grandmother used to say, "You can't keep the birds from flying over your head"--in other words, you can't keep these thoughts from coming into your head--"but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair!"
You can't keep the Devil from saying things to you and tempting you to do evil, he will always try to speak to you and try to get you to do evil. You can't keep from hearing him speak, but you can keep from doing what he says. You can't always keep from thinking it, but you don't have to do it.
(Maria: So temptation isn't always bad, because Jesus was tempted.--Mat.4:1-11.) It says in the Bible Jesus was tempted in all points the same as we are.--Heb.4:15. Jesus was tempted with every temptation known to Man. It's no sin when the Devil tempts you to do something, it's only a sin when you do it.
Temptation is the voice of the Devil, and you can't keep from hearing it sometimes. A lot of people feel bad and think they're wicked because they think sinful thoughts.
"Whatsoever things are good, think on these things!"--Phil.4:8. If you will think on the good things, you won't have time to think on the bad things.--Fill your head with good things, with good thoughts! That's why you should read your Bible or listen to a Word tape or class, it helps you to think about good things, to talk about good things, and this keeps the bad thoughts out.
When the room is dark you don't go around trying to chase the dark out of the room.--You let the light in and it chases out the dark! So the way to get rid of these temptations and bad thoughts is to think of good things, read your Bible, pray, think about Jesus, and then you don't have time to think the other thoughts.
That's why Isaiah says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."--Isa.26:3. If you keep your mind on Jesus you don't have time to think about these other things!
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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