Integrity is who you are when you are alone, not the perception that you desire others to see of you.
I would ask you to seriously consider these following words, you are going to enter into the throne room of God, where even your thoughts will be judged. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13)
Now, if you will, contemplate this verse, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Cor. 10:5) Does it still seem as a “good idea,” something to attempt with anticipation and joy, or did it just take on an ominous meaning to you?
We cannot control all those thoughts that flow through our minds each day, but the amount of time that we spend on them is possible, we do not have to follow the bunny trial, so to speak. I do not believe that any of us can remember our very first thought of sin, that moment when the grace of God that rests upon the innocent very young lives, so to speak, and sin begins to take its first steps in our lives, but I do believe that even at that very young age we realize its presence, although perhaps not as against the Most High God. It is called our Adamic nature, and because of the sin of Adam, it is passed along to every person that has ever been born.
This is not to say that God calls that person at that young age, but here is when the knowledge of good and evil becomes aware within us.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12) At the Great White Throne of Judgement that is what will be judged, the acknowledgement of the knowledge of a life spent apart from the will of the Most High, there will be none with an excuse.
For those who have been born-again, the circumstances are altered, we are the ones who will not be judged, for at the cross Jesus Christ paid for those sins, we are the chosen of God, yet those thoughts will be brought to light. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
There is the ability within each person who has been crucified with Christ to control our thoughts, by the power of the Holy Spirit that resides within us, He shows us what is acceptable in the eyes of the Lord and what is abhorred by Him. Our responsibility, given to us by our free will, is to discern between the good and the bad, between what is righteous and what is unrighteous, even to the thoughts in our minds. Controlling our thoughts is an action of the mind, and whatever thoughts we determine to follow shows us the true integrity of ourselves.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:13)
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:14)
Your thoughts, if left unchecked, will draw you away, and if done in a manner not in obedience to the will of God, you will soon find yourself yielding to sin.
Whether he only heard the accounts of the “big city,” or actually went and visited it with his father, the prodigal son not could not, but would not control his thoughts of that place, and those thoughts led him away to the pig’s trough. The wisest man who ever lived was not drawn away by those enticements, but by relinquishing his thoughts to them. Keep every thought captive for Christ is not just a suggestion my friends, not just a good idea or even a commandment, it is a warning, for if you do not, you will find yourself drawn away, and you will be held accountable for your actions.
When we stand before the Lord of Glory to give our account, of our reckoning in this life, He will not just ask us why we did or did not do something, He is going to want to know why we would not control our thoughts, why we allowed them to control us instead of us controlling them.
View it this way my friends, just because a door is opened does not mean you have to walk through it.
Those thoughts that you know do not glorify the Lord will continue to appear in your mind, you should be able to recognize them, remove them at that moment, and not continue on a path that brings no glory to the Most High.