“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
Evil can be biblically defined as injurious behavior to self, or others. Most individuals do not think of their negative behavior, in words and deeds, as acts of evil, but they are. “We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo, created by Walt Kelly). The question comes, “Will we change?” “Will we depart from evil?” It is not easy, and for a good reason, which Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn noted in, The Gulag Archipelago.
“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
For the Christian who wants to circumcise their own heart, for the believer who wants to be fundamentally and forever different, consider the following helpful hints.
Confess all known sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Dedicated the body to Christ knowing that it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19).
Be renewed in the mind. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Make no provision for the flesh. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).
Become accountable to someone. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Learn Bible doctrine. “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11).
Memorize the Word of God. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 19:11).
Walk in the Spirit. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
Believe there is no need to sin and there is a way out of every temptation. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Mortify the motions towards sin at the first. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13).
Make a covenant with your eyes not to covet, or lust. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” (Ex. 20:17). “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1).
Guard, or garrison, the heart. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
Think pure thoughts. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
Flee fornication. “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).
Put off the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
Consciously allow the fruit of the Spirit to be produced. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-25).