There is a direct connection between how we think and the condition of our spiritual life. If we think negatively, it will be difficult to be in a mood of rejoicing. If we dwell on an issue, we might not dwell on the more important things. If we only think and pray about what we want, then we will not be in a position to offer praise, thanksgiving, and obedience to God.
There is a coping device many people use which under some circumstances is very helpful with the stresses of life. There might be times that we need to rationalize about a certain subject. However, when it comes to temptation that may not be a good idea. In particular, if we are putting ourselves in an opportunity to sin, we could rationalize the validity of an excuse to sin.
Various forms of rationalization could be some of the following examples:
- God has not answered my prayer the way and in the time that I want. Therefore, it’s okay for me to proceed with my plan.
- Life has denied me certain enjoyments. Why should I not be able to partake of them as other people do?
- A certain person has done me wrong. It is only fair that I get back at him.
- A particular person such as a spouse has not treated me right. I need to get what I want from someone else.
- My boss passed me over for raise a second time. Surely, it is legitimate that I take something.
- My faith is weak anyway. I might as well enjoy what the world has to offer while I can. Later I will ask God’s forgiveness.
These are just examples of how we can rationalize sinning. Even though in some cases our situation may be correct, that still puts us in a position to not behave as a child of God.
The consequences of rationalizing could be severe. In the book of James, we see a warning that if we behave like the waves of the sea driven by the wind and tossed around, we become unstable in all our ways. Or if we become a double minded man, we will not receive blessings from the Lord.
The person that has not accepted Christ as their Savior lives according to his nature which means he naturally sins. However, the person that has been redeemed brings temptation on himself by choosing to sin. The Holy Spirit has no interaction with the person who is a sinful nature, but the Holy Spirit will offer spiritual unction as a reminder not to sin. In other words, the unsaved person sins because they are unsaved. The person that is born again sins because he chooses to sin.
This is why a Christian who rationalizes sets himself up to harm his relationship with God, not because he loses his salvation, but because he blemished his soul and alienates himself from a close relationship with God. A simple example of this is an obedient child is close to the parent while a disobedient child is problematic. James goes further to say, “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
We all must be careful how we think. Our thoughts can destroy relationships with others and God. Our thoughts can give us permission to sin when we know that is not pleasing to God.