Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11).
I confided in my pastor that I was struggling with thoughts of sexual immorality. He chuckled and answered, We all have those thoughts. As long as you don’t act on them it’s okay. That was the end of the conversation.
By my pastor’s reasoning, a man who is a unable to move any part of his body would be sinless. That’s not the testimony of the Word of God.
The sinful mind is enmity [hateful] against God (Romans 8:7). For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
Our thoughts can be dangerous beds of sin. I would be unlikely to walk up to another person and plunge a knife into his back. I have no desire to spend my life in a prison cell or face the penalty of death, but I’d consider such a deed in my mind, an act of hateful murder so secret it is known only to myself and to God. In the hidden recesses of my heart I can ponder atrocious and abominable things yet appear to be moral and upstanding, all the while having my mind and conscience defiled (Titus 1:15).
Sin is more than an action. The act is just the final manifestation of what’s already taken place in the mind (Matthew 5:28; James 1:14).
The answer to a sinful mind in the Christian is two-fold. First, we must recognize and repent of our sinful thoughts, confessing these things to the Lord (1 John 1:9). Second, we must refuse to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). The continual renewing of the mind happens in the man of God by the Spirit of God working through the Word of God.