“Since we have these promises, beloved,
let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit,
bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” ~2 Corinthians 7.1
We are to make every effort and implement every means God has given us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement – both in body and in spirit.
Jesus even went so far to say “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” ~Matthew 5.29-30.
Now, THAT is making every effort and implementing every means! And, He is serious about, and so should we!
It is one thing to abstain from practicing and indulging in outward sins. We just must restrain ourselves from physically doing them. However, it is quite another thing to NOT practice and indulge ourselves in fantacizing about them and acting them out in our mind and spirit.
Jesus said that to indulge in the mental activities is to commit them in fact.
Not to cleanse ourselves in mind and spirit is to practice, train, condition, and entice ourselves, making it much easier to fall for the physical act of whatever sin we are mentally indulging. You are drawing out your plays on the whiteboard of your mind and desires, just waiting for the Tempter to present you with the opportunity to call for the play [see James 1.14-15].
It is much easier to commit the actual act of murder if you have been coddling and nurturing hatred in your heart toward someone else, and amassing all the evidences of your injuries, self-defense, and justification [see Matthew 5.21-26]. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” ~1 John 3.15.
It is much easier to commit the act of fornication and adultery if you have been allowing yourself to want it, fantacizing about it in your mind and spirit, or imbibing pornography [see Matthew 5.27-30].
It is much easier to commit the sins of lying, slander, and character assassination if you have been rehearsing the case and playing it over and over again in your seething malice against another [see Ephesians 4.25-27, 31 & Colossians 3.5-11].
It is much easier to explode in evil and injurious anger toward another when you have been stoking and fanning that bitterness and anger until the opportunity arises for you to vent it in force for its maximum intended effect [see Matthew 5.21-26 & James 1.19-21].
It is much easier to cheat and steal when you have been plotting and scheming your covetous, idolatrous plans of whatever kind in your mind and spirit, watching and stalking for when and how you can do it and get by with it [see Ephesians 4.28].
And on and on throughout the sordid cesspool of our inward corruption that must be cleansed by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus and the pure life of the Holy Spirit. [see 1 Corinthians 6.11]
We all know to guard, not just our outward acts, but our minds and spirits.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” ~Proverbs 4.23.
We must do this! And we must do this first!