Question:

Hello again.

For awhile now I have been struggling with making sure I am doing things in faithas mentioned in Romans 14:23 while not trying to stress myself out and worry about it so much. What is talked about Ecclesiastes 7:16 seems to be what I am doing. Because I know that I can do things not in faith, I think I am questioning everything I do, even though there aren't commands against it as far as I know. I am getting really stressed out constantly wondering if I am sinning or not. Many times if I do everyday tasks less than perfect (or at least what I think of as perfect), I tend to treat it as if I had sinned.

Another thing I am having a big issue with is thoughts and temptation. It's like I am treating tempation as sin. Sometimes I have thoughts that I would label as bad thoughts and after thinking about them I reject them, but for a time they seem appealing until I think about the consequences. Was I sinning during that time before I rejected the idea?

Also if I have a cuss word enter into my mind, I feel like I have sinned. It seems impossible to stop having an urge to say them and it stresses me to wonder if having that urge is sinful or not.

I would like to not be stressed out by all this; however,I don't want to wind up ignoring what I think isn't in the faith and just say it is me being overly righteous as an excuse to do it. Which leads me to the question: How can I make sure I am doing things in the faith without being overly righteous?


Answer:

Faith isn't a feeling that you are doing right. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Faith is that you trust what God said to be true. Thus, faith cannot exist until you have something to believe in.

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).

If you don't know if something is or is not commanded by God, then it can't be of faith.

Since nowhere in the Bible does God command that men complete tasks with absolute perfection, a good but less than perfectly completed task cannot be a sin because no law of God was broken. Sin is when a person breaks a law of God. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4).

We know that Jesus was tempted, yet without sinning. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, being tempted is not sinful. Further, you cannot be tempted by something you've never considered or thought about. After Jesus responded to Satan's temptations; therefore, he thought about what was offered and why the offer was wrong.

Some thoughts can be wrong. Lust is called equivalent to the action of sinning. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Lust is when you want something that is wrong so badly that you start justifying it in your head. Sin can never be justified, so lust is equivalent to the actual action. Lust is not when you think about a sin for a moment and then decide that it cannot be right. Lust is when you want to do sin, and would if the opportunity arises, and you are figuring out how to justify those opportunities.

The urge to use profanity is temptation. Controlling what you say is hard, but I note that you have been managing most of the time to stay in control. "For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body" (James 3:2). Your ability to not say what you are thinking shows a strength of character. Over time it will become a habit not even to think in terms of profanity.