When You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for Having Evil Desires, Part 1 of 2

Guilt and Evil Desires

Guilt is a strange thing. It messes with our minds.

Have you ever felt guilty for doing something you didn’t know was wrong when you did it? There’s a funny commercial about a man flipping a light switch in his garage on and off while asking his wife if it did anything. In the next scene you see a few doors away he’s opening and closing a neighbor’s garage door with harmful but funny (for all but the neighbor) results.

light switch - evil desires

Guilt is an awareness of wrongdoing accompanied by shame and regret for our actions. We should feel guilty when we do wrong, when we sin.

Should we feel guilty when we have evil desires? Most Christians immediately answer “Yes, of course, they’re sin!” I am going to say something now you may have never heard.

When evil desires enter our minds they are not by themselves sin. They lead to sin.

If you’re shaking your head thinking “I can’t believe what I just read!” stay with me. I think you’ll be surprised and hopefully relieved at what I’m going to show you from the Bible.

First, understand this. I’m not saying it’s okay to have evil desires. I’m not saying we shouldn’t worry about them. Quite the contrary. They’re a huge problem for Christians! I’d like for you to take them much more seriously than you do. They’re the front line in the spiritual warfare battle.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For Having Evil Desires

  1. The Bible says evil desires lead to sin James 1:14-15.
  2. Evil desires are attacks by our three enemies. flesh Galatians 5:16, world 1 John 2:16, Satan John 8:44
  3. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to have evil desires.  It says don’t obey them Romans 6:12, don’t gratify them Romans 13:14, flee from them 2 Timothy 2:22, renounce them Titus 2:12, don’t be conformed to them 1 Peter 1:14.
  4. The Bible does not tell us to confess evil desires. 1 John 1:9
  5. The Bible doesn’t say evil desires are sin.

Here’s why. Let’s say you’re walking down the street and inadvertently see a pornographic magazine lying open in a parked car. An evil image is now in your mind. Let’s freeze time right there. Have you just sinned? Did you willfully choose to look at something sinful? No. You didn’t choose for the evil image to enter your mind. What you do next determines if you’re going to sin. If you make it your own, it will become a temptation and will lead to a sin.

Many Christians feel defeated the moment an evil desire enters their mind. Don’t! Stop feeling guilty and defeated when the attacking evil desire hits. The battle just started! Fight it, right then! You haven’t lost yet. You don’t want that desire anywhere in your heart or mind! Run to the Father, Son and Spirit and they will enable to defeat it.

In tomorrow’s post I’m going to show you from Matthew 5:28 this teaching is consistent with what Jesus said about adultery in your heart.

What do you find the most difficult to accept about this teaching? Please leave a comment or question below.