September 19th

Soul Torment

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)-- 9then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment  2 Peter 2:4-9 NKJV 

In this scripture, Peter is talking about Lot, who lived in Sodom, a city that God later destroyed (Genesis 19) as punishment for its evil practices.   Lot chose to live in Sodom, even though he knew that Sodom’s men were “exceedingly wicked” (Genesis 13:11-13).  Lot decided to live in their depraved culture, which resulted in his soul being “tormented” daily from what he heard and saw.   

Lot’s decision to live among decadence is like sex addicts decisions to immerse themselves in pornography or other “sexually charged” material.   If we fill our minds with sexual sin, we invite torment on our souls both from the memories of the sin and from any evil spirits that might be involved.  In this way, we’re basically giving the devil an invitation to come into our lives.      

While we may not have much of a choice about what culture we live in, we do have power to greatly control what we expose our eyes and ears to.  For example, as the level of moral decadence continues to deepen on television and in the movies, we can choose to wean ourselves from those entertainment sources.   Doing so might seem prudish or extreme, but better that than loading our minds with scenarios that are going to weaken our relationship with God and tempt us to sin.   

I encourage you to carefully consider the material that you have been feeding your eyes and ears with.  Ask yourself the tough questions like, “Is this helping my relationship with God?” or “Is this tempting me to sin?”  If you feel that the Lord is convicting you to give something up, you can ask him for strength to follow through on it.  If you’re worried that you might not be able to live without it, give that worry to God and ask him to show you how you can live without it.  

Additionally, consider ways that you can foster a God-focused mindset.  Paul encouraged us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I confess any ways that I have allowed evil into my eyes and ears: _______ (specify).  Please forgive me for allowing corruption into myself in those ways.  If I’ve been living in torment, I ask for your peace to descend over and cover my heart and mind. Thank you for forgiving me and cleansing me from my sin on account of the blood of Jesus.  Thank you for redeeming me from destruction and restoring me as a son to you.  As I move forward, please help me develop good habits that will foster a God-focused mindset.  I surrender any habits that are not pleasing to you today and ask for your help in leaving them behind permanently.   Thank you, Father.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”