To domesticate is to convert, to tame, or adapt a thing to a new environment. For centuries, humans have worked to domesticate animals, integrating outdoor creatures to indoor life.
As masters, we typically enjoy “showing off” our domesticated creatures. Our dogs “play dead” on command. Our birds repeat funny phrases. Our rodents exercise. Some have even taught their cats to use toilets.
We marvel at the wild acting tame, the savage seeming subdued, and the harmful appearing to be harnessed.
But every once in a while we get a glimpse—a reminder that what we thought had been suppressed can still rear a rebellious head. Animals have certain base instincts that cannot be forever eliminated. When past training collides with compulsive desires in a beast, compulsive desire often comes out on top. And what we thought was our friend can turn out to be harmful and deadly.
The same thing applies to sin. Whomever you are, you can’t domesticate sin. Let your guard down and it will rear its ugly head (1 Cor 10:12). Interact with iniquity in pride and it will strike (Rom 11:20). Taunt ungodliness as if you are the master and it will bite (Prov 16:18). Flirt with unbridled lust like a fool and it will eventually cost you your life (Prov 7:23).
In 1 Corinthians 9:27 the apostle Paul wrote, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” Like Paul, your body must be disciplined. Evil lies close at hand (Rom 7:21). Your fleshly instincts must be kept under control. When past training collides with compulsive desire, you are not a beast. Your flesh is not your god (Phil 3:19). Christ-shaped character can and must come out on top.
All of which means we must be so very careful what we expose ourselves to today. Paul was honest with himself, with us, and with God.
I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (Rom 7:22-23)
Let’s be honest like that today. What good can possibly come from exposing our minds to the putrid scent of pornography? Why should we allow the bait of gossip to be dangled in front of our eyes? What gain will there be in consuming the raw filthiness of crude joking? Why bring the maggots of ungodliness into our homes and act as if they will not multiply?
Let’s acknowledge that sowing to the flesh will only produce corruption (Gal 6:8). Let’s guard our hearts, refusing to think about, sniff, or nibble at the rotting raw meat of sin (James 1:14-15). Let’s set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col 3:2).
We can’t domesticate sin. Let’s not act today as if we have or can.