Confessing Your Secrets to the Lord
Beth opened the bag of chocolates. "I'll eat just one," she said. But she ate the whole bag and hid the evidence. Then she bought a new bag so her husband wouldn't know.
Keesha shopped for hours, buying a few things she needed—but a lot more she craved. She hid her stash before Barry got home, but brought it out a week later when they had company. Her husband flashed her a frustrated "Again?" glance. She had to look away.
Wendi turned out the lights. No one would be home for another hour. She took the opportunity to seek pleasure for herself . . . again. Then she felt so ashamed.
Maria wrote such sweet, loving words, but they were written to Phil, a married man. Although it never got physical, it was still an emotional affair. She felt a twinge of guilt, thinking about Phil's wife.
None of these names are real, but the stories are. All these women are Christians with something to hide. They have two things in common: fleshly indulgence and secret lives.
Engaging in Fleshly Indulgence
The Holy Spirit dethroned the "old man" of flesh in us (our sin nature) when we trusted in Jesus for salvation. But the old man still likes to kick up in rebellion, not yet destroyed. Though crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20), sin still resides within our flesh. Paul described this struggle in Romans 7:18–25.
The flesh is never satisfied, and it wants what it's not supposed to have. It's hostile to God and rebellious against His law (Rom. 8:7). Paul said the "flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Gal. 5:17).
In Colossians 3:5, Paul described a few of the besetting (persistently threatening) sins associated with the flesh: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness. We're not to accommodate these things, but to drain the life out of them and to put on the "new man" (Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:10).
The Christian walk is a constant adjustment of our thinking and behavior to the Word of God and leadership of the Spirit, so we will "not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Rom. 12:1–2; Gal. 5:16). Instead, we will be "conformed" to the image of God's Son (Rom. 8:29). Only God's Spirit can conquer our unruly flesh and give us a heart of repentance. True repentance includes a willingness and desire to change by conforming to the Word of God and the will of the Spirit of God.
Living Secret Lives
Many Christians forget or choose to ignore the power of God's presence in motivating us not to sin. Psalm 90:8 says, "You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence." Do we really believe this?
The Bible says much more about "hidden things." These are just a few:
- "For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths" (Prov. 5:21 NIV84).
- "My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes" (Jer. 16:17 NIV84).
- "For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Eccl. 12:14 ESV).
- "God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Rom. 2:16).
- "Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart" (1 Cor. 4:5 NIV84).
- "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Heb. 4:13 NIV84).
How many things would change in our lives if we truly believed God is present with us everywhere, at all times, even in the dark or when no one sees?
I wear a cross ring that I see every day. It reminds me I have been bought with a price and I belong to the Lord (1 Cor. 6:19–20). It reminds me I live daily in God's holy presence.
A familiar children's song comes to mind:
"Be careful little eyes what you see . . . be careful little ears what you hear . . . be careful little hands what you do . . . be careful little feet where you go . . . be careful little mouth what you say . . ." Why?"There's a Father up above, who's looking down in love, so be careful."
Because of Jesus, God is my Father; but He still sees and holds me accountable. When I do sin, He is faithful to call me to confession and repentance, where I find my faithful, interceding Advocate (Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1). Authentic confession and repentance (1 John 1:9; Ps. 32:1–2) bring complete forgiveness and freedom because I am always accepted in Christ.
Hiding is foolish when acknowledging God's presence. His provision for sin can bring us peace and sure hope for change. Why would we want to try to hide from that?
How might practicing God's presence and walking in the Spirit encourage victory over your "besetting" sin?
Written by Dawn Wilson