1. Watch what you watch.
What you watch can have a serious impact on your mind and your actions. If you feed on the wrong stuff long enough you wind up doing what you really don’t want to do. Many of the today’s movies focus on sex and/or have nudity in them. I used to be all eyes when a sex scene came on. But that only frustrated me more and more… Now, I don’t even watch those scenes. I used to just close my eyes to make sure I don’t feed on that stuff but know I thoroughly research movies and shows before I even watch them, and if I see there is inappropriate material in them I won’t watch them at all. Nudity and sexual scenes are tough to forget about once you allow them in your mind, so it’s wise to not let them into your mind to begin with. It’s also an easy error to sit down in front of the TV and flip around and inadvertently fill yourself with all kinds of garbage. So many shows on TV today are trashy and they glorify sin in it’s many forms. Nowadays commercials, shows AND movies are all centered around sex. I’ve never seen so much skin and sexual content in my life. It gets worse late at night, so if there isn’t a specific show you plan to watch don’t flip around. You might land on a channel that’s showing something that might cause you to sin. It’s tough to be in a fight to stay pure when you’re feeding on so much impurity. Sometimes, to avoid feeding on all the wrong things, I just pop in a Tom and Jerry DVD and call it a night.
2. Watch what you listen to.
Be careful when you choose what MP3s you’re downloading and what music you’re listening to. Most of today’s popular songs have the most vulgar and impure lyrics. Additionally, many of them have lyrics you don’t know are vulgar until later. This means many of us have been singing and dancing along to songs that are the exact opposite of what we claim to represent. Also be careful what radio shows you listen to, what conversations you listen to in the break room at work, and even what advice and sermons you listen to at church. There are plenty of false Christians and fake pastors spewing out ungodliness as though it’s the gospel and we simply cannot allow ourselves to feed on immoral filth even if it sounds good. So be sure to keep your mind pure by not feeding on impure things.
3. Review the ratings and reviews of TV shows and movies BEFORE you watch them.
As I mentioned before, this is something I do regularly myself, and I highly recommend that you do as well. There are several shows that are too provocative for Christians to watch. We don’t need to feed on that type of stuff because it’s counterproductive. And don’t let your desire to see a certain film override your conviction to abstain from feeding on sinfulness. There are so many movies I wanted to see based on the previews and recommendations from friends, but after checking the content in those movies (sexual content, nudity, adult situations…) I made the decision to not watch them. I’d rather miss a “good movie” and stay pure, than to feed on sinfulness and sacrifice my purity.
4. Don’t do any searches for members of the opposite sex on the internet.
I got into trouble doing this. Sometimes the search is entirely innocent; your goal is not to see wardrobe malfunctions or nude photos of certain celebrities, but that is the type of content that often pops up when searching celebrities. So avoid making these searches AND go the extra mile to adjust the safety settings on your internet search sites to filter out sinful material. The internet is filled with trash and it’s easy to stumble across it. Stuff will come up even when you’re not looking for it at all! I also recommend not following the social media accounts of celebrities who keep posting nude photos to try to stay relevant such as Kim Kardashian. You simply cannot justify following sinful lewd celebrities and try to avoid feeding on sinfulness at the same time. Sometimes it’s best to just shut down the computer, or put your phone down, and do something else.
5. Don’t open e-mails with impure subjects.
I used to have an email account that was bombarded every day with disgusting SPAM. The most vulgar, sexual subject lines show up in my inbox even through my SPAM blocker. I don’t even think twice about these sorts of emails though; as soon as I see it’s not a legit e-mail I delete it without even opening it. I don’t need anything tempting me to click on it and take me into a world of impurity.
6. Don’t get close to pornography.
Be careful. As soon as you tell your flesh (your sinful nature) “NO” it will start scavenging and will try to feed on something else. If you won’t physically have sex, it will try to get you to look at it and think about it. TV, movies, the internet and pornography are all vehicles to do this. So, in addition to avoiding the ones we talked about so far, also avoid book stores, magazine racks etc. if you are tempted to look at pornography and other inappropriate material. Avoid watching late night TV especially premium channels such as Cinemax, HBO, and SHOWTIME. If you know where you don’t want to wind up, don’t get anywhere close to the road that will lead you there.
7. Don’t aimlessly surf the web.
If you’re bored and you start just clicking around surfing the web without any particular purpose, chances are you are going to wind up reading or seeing something you shouldn’t feed on. There are so many traps on the internet, I recommend that if you need to find something in particular find it and get off. Don’t surf out of boredom. Go do something else and avoid getting into trouble.
Real Life Experience
A few years ago I saw a young lady at my job who was absolutely gorgeous. I wound up falling head over heals for her before we even met. I was crushed to find out later that she was married and had kids. I was then faced with the challenge of letting go of all the emotions I had already allowed myself to feel for her. To make matters worse a co-worker introduced us one day and later we all wound up working on the same team. We clicked and became good friends and before I knew it I allowed myself to get too close to her. I struggled for some time with this and I fought hard to not sin by doing anything physical with her. So my flesh (my sinful nature) said “Fine, if you refuse to do anything physical with her at least you can think about it…” That was a trap that I fell into face first. Knowing it was wrong I had to fight to keep my mind pure and not think about doing anything physical with her either. After struggling in this area and failing again and again I decided to change. I had to cut her completely out of my life until I let all my feelings for her go. It took a little over a year, but I was willing to suffer the pain from that to refrain from sinning. I was not willing to dishonor God, myself, her, her husband, or her children by sinning with her.
Thoughts are powerful. If you think about sin long enough it can drive you to actually turn those thoughts into reality. That means you sin when you allow yourself to entertain those evil thoughts and then you sin again when you actually physically commit the act. Allowing yourself to entertain evil thoughts violates Scripture and consequently prevents you from living the pure lifestyle God requires of His children.
Additional Key Scriptures on Mental Purity
The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to Him.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.