Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Poison of Secret Sin

"What they don't know won't hurt them." A common phrase we have all heard at one point in our lives. But is it necessarily true? A tactic of Satan, as we have seen in many stories in the Bible, 'tell them a partial truth they can believe but that destroys.'

There may be an element of truth to that phrase, but what does it do to the individual guarding the secret? Can it hurt them? Yes. Can it destroy them? Yes. I would also argue that not only can it hurt them, but indirectly, it can hurt others surrounding them. Don't get me wrong, there may be secrets that must be guarded. There are times when it is for the right reasons, but I'm not talking about those kind of secrets.... I'm talking about the secrets we hold on to about what we have done. The secret sin.

I once held a secret sin. For ten years I guarded my words and protected a sin that I had committed. I lived a long time believing that, "What they didn't know wouldn't hurt them." You know what... it didn't. They were unaware and unscathed by what I had done.... but it was destroying me.

Guarding that secret sin ate me up inside. I became an unloving and selfish person. In my arrogance, I believed that I was better not rectifying my secret sin because it was perceived by others it never happened. What a lie! I was not better. I was bitter!
"For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." Luke 8:17
I was living a lie that Satan himself made me believe. His strategy was to keep me trapped from that secret sin knowing that I would continue to harbor all of that guilt, shame, regret, and fear. I can tell you from experience, nothing destroys a person's heart faster than the attributes of darkness. Living with the enemies of the heart will naturally manifest itself into negative behavior. It is poison to the soul and spirit blocking the light from shining within us.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23 

Ten years is a long time to keep a secret. I suspect there is someone out there now who might be harboring a secret sin and have done so for many years, maybe longer than I did. I don't know why God chose to lay this on my heart today, but I feel there is a reason. Maybe someone reading this post right now has been grappling with whether or not to rectify their secret sin.

Know this, Satan will do all he can to make you believe it is better to hold on to your secret sin than to reconcile it. Why? Because he knows that if you experience the fullness of the grace of God, you would live the rest of your life sharing your love and faith in the God of all mercies.
"Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13
That is what happened with me. As I was moving closer to the light of Christ, the darkness and poison of that secret sin in my heart was being exposed. Satan was doing all he could to keep me from following the light by making me believe I would make things much worse by rectifying it.
 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18
In my heart, I knew what was the right thing to do. Through prayer and petitions to God, He revealed to me what I needed to do to make things right. I knew that if I didn't obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I may not ever have the chance to do it again. As many times as I had turned away from being obedient to God, I knew that there would come a time my heart could become hardened and then it would be too late.

If there is any advice I can share with those who have been grappling with a secret sin, it is this...Don't dismiss the promptings of the Holy Spirit to make things right. You may not get another chance. As hard as it was for me to expose my secret sin, I can tell you now, I am thankful to God for the outcome. What has replaced that hold on my heart is a peace and greater love than I have ever known. All of that poison from holding on to that secret is gone making more room for Jesus to fill my heart with His light and love.

And that is my prayer for you... Trust in God and release yourself from the poison of secret sin so that you can experience to fullness of grace only God can give through the love and light of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Are you Balanced or About to Tip Over?

Ever feel like you are being pulled in a hundred different directions? Some of us feel like we are constantly on the go. You may be like many... and suffer from not only physical exhaustion but mental exhaustion as well! Life gets so hectic with having to be everywhere at once. You take kids where they need to be, go to work, then go to the next event before coming home to just go straight to bed. There just never seems to be enough time.

When I get home, I am constantly running the day's events in my mind. In fact, sometimes it gets so bad, I can't sleep at night. I can't shut my brain off. There are nights when I just wish I had a power button to shut all these thoughts down! I will wake up in the middle of the night thinking of things that I need to do. When things start to get this hectic and I can't seem to shut my mind down, it makes me feel off balance. I feel like I am beginning to lean over farther and farther until I am about to reach a tipping point of completely falling over on my face.

Life seems to get that way. We go and go and add more and more to our lives and our schedules. When we do, we begin to see a shift in our balance and we begin to lean more and more.

At times I feel like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This fascinating marvel of architectural design wasn't created to lean on purpose. You would think that since it has been leaning for over 840 years, it defies gravity. But this famous structure has been in danger of falling ever since the first brick was laid.

Construction began in 1173 and after the third story was built, the building started to sink into the soft soil which was comprised of mud, clay, and sand. The tower began to lean toward the north causing construction to cease for 100 years. When construction continued in 1273, the laborers added additional stories at an angle to compensate for the northern lean. As a result, this caused the tower to then begin to lean toward the south, which is the direction it leans today.

Between 1370 and 1380, construction was complete with an attempt to construct the bell chamber at a northern angle to compensate for the leaning direction toward the south which is what we see today. Over time, the tower has increased its leaning angle. Engineers continue to survey and monitor the tower to ensure it is safe but despite the evidence of potential problems, engineers agree that it will remain stable at least another 200 years.

In my mind, I see myself as leaning more and more... the more that life adds to me, the more I lean. But, like this amazing structure, we have a hope to anchor ourselves and keep us from completely toppling over. Despite our often hectic unbalanced lives, we can rest on our rock and strong foundation. We can rest in our faith and hope in Jesus! A friend shared scripture with me the other day as a reminder for me to trust even when life seem to be unpredictable and uncertain.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
We can try to make things right ourselves, and adjust our lives and schedules, but later we begin to lean again in another direction. Our understanding of where we are or need to be can't always be controlled by our own limited abilities. Proverbs reminds us that we need to lean on God, submit to Him and he will make us straight. He is our security in times of unbalance, struggle, and trials. Even though we may feel like we are about to lean right over and fall on our face, we can rest securely in knowing He holds us up in his hands and we will not be shaken!
"Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will not be shaken" Psalm 62:6