Helping men and women find hope, help, healing, restoration and redemption
leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
1 Peter 1:13 commands you to “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” How are you doing with that? Are you focused every morning – and throughout the day – on preparing your mind for the battle? What does that even look like? How do I do that?
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. This is episode #52 as we continue our mini-series on How to live FOR Christ. And in this episode, we will open the Scriptures and discover together how to Prepare Our Minds for Action!
For many Christians, Sunday is a day meant to focus all our attention on God—a day of worship. We go to church, greet each other with a warm smile, sing worship songs as a congregation, open our Bibles and listen to the preacher deliver his well-prepared sermon, then cordially shake his hand on the way out the door. But did we really worship? Did we truly honor God from our hearts, or did we simply play “church”? Are you a one-day, only-on-Sunday Christian?
Unfortunately, many of us sit in the service and go through the motions while feeling numb and empty inside. Why? We are in church for the wrong reason. You see, we should never go to church TO worship God . Hear me out please. Yes, we worship God while we’re at church, but we should never go to church because that’s where we worship.
We are to worship God everywhere and anywhere we are – every day, all day. So, when we walk into church on a Sunday morning, we are not going TO worship, rather we are bringing our worship with us.
The real question here is, whom (or what) have you been worshipping during the week? In fact, I challenge you – right here and right now – to think about your activities over the last few days – and then answer this question: Whom (or what) have you been worshiping all week long? Be honest now. Be truthful with yourself here. Whom (or what) have you been worshiping all week this week? What about last week? And the week before?
Let me take a couple of moments here to just read to you some verses from Scripture about the topic of “worship.”
It is impossible to walk in the doors of the church building and spiritually flip a switch from worshipping King Me all week long, to instantly worshipping God on Sunday. Whomever you are worshipping during the week is whom you will worship during the Sunday service. Here’s my point: We must be focused on God not just on Sundays but all during the week—not just when we’re on the battlefield fighting temptation, but when we’re in our La-Z-Boy enjoying some down time, as well.
Have you ever stopped to consider what things around you, in your daily surroundings, impact and influence what and how you think? I ask this because, what you think strongly determines what you do. Your thoughts steer your behavior. But don’t take my word for it.
Listen to this command from God, given to us in Proverbs 4:23. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This is powerful enough that it bears repeating. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
God says the most important thing here is to guard your heart. Let me repeat that slowly. The—most—important—thing is to guard your heart. Nothing is more important than this one thing. Guarding your heart must always take highest priority in your life.
OK: so, what exactly is my “heart” and how do I guard it? In the Hebrew – the language Proverbs 4:23 was written in, the word “heart” is the Hebrew word leb (Leh-bay), and it refers to the place where all of your thinking and decision-making occurs. It’s the home of all your knowledge and understanding. It’s your mind.
God says the most important thing you must do at all times is guard your heart – protect your mind. Why? Because it (your mind) is the wellspring of life. That word “wellspring” refers to the primary source of something. It is the outpouring—the result.
In other words: The primary source of everything you say and do is your mind. What you think will become what you say and do. The reason you say the things you say and do the things you do is because of what’s in your heart. This is why it is of highest priority that you guard your heart. Guard your heart and you will guard your behavior, because what you think will become what you do.
This is also why Satan’s #1 goal is to influence your thinking, that way he can impact your living.
Just like the wells in ancient times could be tainted, affecting the community water source and thereby impacting people’s health, so also can allowing sinful thoughts will pollute your entire life. If you are going to glorify God in all you say and do, everything you allow yourself to see and hear must also glorify God. Since your mind is the place where your behavior begins, it benefits you greatly to have a prepared mind. (1 Peter 1:13)
To help you think through this verse and understand what Peter is telling us to do, think about this:
Ephesians 6:12 warns that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
In other words, the “action” we are to prepare our minds for is the attack of the enemy upon our spiritual well-being. And his primary target is your mind. Listen, Satan knows that if he can impress your thinking, he’ll be able to impact your living. What you think becomes what you do. This is why it is so vitally important that you are “above all else” setting a continuous guard around your thought-life. Be very intentional, be acutely aware of your surroundings and the impact, the influence those things / those conversations / those images / that person / that movie or television show / that foul language can have upon your thinking!
Jesus tells us that “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23a)
Think about what Jesus is saying here. Your eyes are like a lamp. Think of a “lamp” as a flashlight shining in the pitch-black night. Only, instead of that beam of light shining “out” from your eyes, it’s actually shining inward - to your soul. That “light” (the things you see - the things you allow yourself or choose to look at) they are a strong influence on how to live, where to go, and what to do.
Think of it this way: it would be rather silly of me to look to the left and yet walk to the right (while still looking left). I would eventually run into things and stub my toe, or something much worse. I will always walk where my eyes are looking. Why? Because what I see is going to influence what I do.
Once again, think about this: What happens to your choices when the majority of the things you allow your eyes to see and ears to hear each day are sinful and ungodly?
Jesus is telling us that the things we see have a powerful influence on the things we do. If our eyes are good, if they are focused on things that will glorify God, then our actions and behavior will also glorify Him. However, if we allow our eyes to continuously view things that are ungodly, those things will wear us down and our lifestyle will eventually reflect that choice.
I like to put it this way: What the eye sees, the “I” does.
Every moment of every day you are faced with choices about what you’re going to permit yourself to see. And with every choice there is a consequence.
Are you going to choose to see only those things that encourage you to live a godly life, or will you allow yourself to view the things that may tempt you to indulge in the lusts of the flesh? What you see influences what you think, which in turn directly impacts what you do. Let me repeat, what the eye sees greatly impacts what the “I” does.
Daily, you make decisions about what you will watch, read, or even listen to. Most of the time you aren’t conscious of those decisions, but you are making them. Paul challenges us to “be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17) Make the right choices.
In next week’s episode we will continue our discussion on how to prepare your mind and guard your heart – but for now I want you to understand that God has a will for you regarding what you should see and what you shouldn’t? He has given you His Holy Word (the Bible) to shine a light on the path He wants you to walk.
David declares “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) “The unfolding of (God’s) words gives light.” (Psalm 119:130) And in Psalm 19:8 he writes, “the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” We should daily be asking God to “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” (Psalm 43:3) Why? Because God’s Word is “a lamp shining in a dark place.” (2 Peter 1:19)
So, as we conclude this week’s podcast – let me share this one last thing with you: No matter what sin issues you may be battling with, no matter where you may be in your walk with God, or in your marriage relationship - don’t give up hope, don’t quit, don’t allow discouragement to defeat you. God has a perfect plan for your life. God is at work – even now – molding you into the Christ-follower He wants you to be. Stop fighting Him, stop trying to take over the process, and trust Him with EVERYTHING.
Lay all your temptations on the altar, sacrifice them to God and just walk away. Then open your Bible and read, study, mediate and memorize it. Let God’s truth saturate your mind and fill your heart, and as Romans 13:14 challenges us “don’t even think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Rather, as Romans 12:2 commands, allow God to transform you as you renew mind.
If this Point of Purity podcast has been a blessing to you, if it’s ministered to you, encouraged you, challenged your walk with Christ, would you please join our team of Point of Purity Partners as we impact our world by equipping and training men and women how-to live-in purity, godliness, and integrity. Your financial support of any amount to this ministry will go a long way toward helping men and women find the victory and freedom that only Christ can – and will – give!
To give your tax deductible gift to this ministry today, simply go to www.thepuritycoach.com and click on the “Donate” button in the upper right corner to give your tax-deductible donation today. And thank you for partnering with us!
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.