A. Because his heart is entombed in the lusts of the flesh, fallen man is attracted to the sounds and sights of the carnival attractions with or without the carnival barker.
Q. But how can you blame the depressed from reaching for comfort from alcohol or drugs? He did not necessarily cause the depression that makes him vulnerable to addiction.
A. They're reaching out in the darkness...and finding it
Q. They may be in the dark, true. But what sets the dark minded people away from the light minded people?
A. There's different ways to put it and many different supporting verses, but a favorite is:
Trust and Obey
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21.I assume we're talking about a believer?
Q. But I try to put away such filthiness and yet filthy thoughts keep invading my mind. What do I do about those thoughts?
A. I'll take that as a 'yes' to my question...
When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death as well as his life.. Both have a mark on the transformed mind of a believer---one eliminates the negative and the other accentuates the positive.. As for being one with His death, we are to be dead to the lusts of the flesh just as a corpse in a casket is dead to the outside stimuli of the world---also known as the crucified flesh, or circumcised heart. However, since a believer's heart and mind still exist in the flesh while on earth, we need to be wearing God's truth like a helmet. Only then will we live in the place of the crucified flesh where the Spirit flourishes in love.--which is the point of Col 3:1-6, 1Peter 4:1-10, most of Romans 6, most of Galatians 5---among others. So, what is it like to view the world's enticements through the eyes and ears of the circumcised heart? Read Phil 3:8.
Q. Ok, but we have wandered away from the original question, which is: What is the difference between thinking bad thoughts and actually sinning? Think of those boys who killed their fellow students at Columbine Colorado, for example. What if they had merely thought the evil thing but did not do it and later actually repented of even having thought it? I'll bet there are thousands who are of this type.
A. In the eyes of God, as revealed at the Sermon on the Mount; one man has evil thoughts and acts on them...another man has the same evil thoughts and does not act on them, both are guilty of sin. If they are unconverted, they need to repent and receive the word of God unto salvation..If they are believers, they need to repent and continue receiving the word (trusting and obeying) unto sanctification---that is, spiritual growth.
Q. I repent of being an alcoholic. But I can't quit. What am I to do?
A. You need to join a local body of Godly believers that are confessing their faults to one another and carrying one another as they are praying and ministering their gifts to one another. The Lord wants to build you up, and his tool box is at the local assemblies.