How to avoid thought-sin (i.e. thinking things you shouldn’t think)…

We mostly think of sins as actions; speaking lies, stealing, adultery, etc. We sometimes think of sins as attitudes; hate, rebellion, lust, ungratefulness, etc.
But those attitudes don’t need physical actions to become sin. Our minds dwell on them, dream about them, reflect on them, etc. That is, there is a type of thought-action we do… We sin by thinking things we ought not to think.
So, how does one stop coveting, lusting, how angry they are, how someone hurt them?
“Don’t think about it” is as good a technique as “don’t do it” heh?
One suggestion is to come up with a list (during a moment of strength) of things you enjoy thinking about that are sin thought-sin. It could be tennis, make-up, fairies, volcanoes, theory of relativity, anything.
And when you start thinking things which you ought not think about, pull open that list in your mind, and give yourself something else to think about – something that you’ve already worked out is going to grab your mental attention, and make it easier to stop thought-sin.

Bad motives make bad excuses

What do you do with the person who wants to pull out of volunteering because they “don’t feel like they’re doing it for the right reasons”.

It’s hard because motives do matter. We want people to do things with good gospel-centred Jesus-honouring motives.

But notice something in that quote… they’re aware of what they’re motives should be. If you asked them something like, “What motives do you think you should have?” they could probably answer you.

So if you know the good motives you should have, and you realise that you don’t have those motives… determine to have different motives. Enter that struggle.

Encourage people to persever in serving Jesus even when they don’t feel like it. Encourage them to set about altering their motives like they would alter any other aspect of sin or struggle with temptation.