While many call them “respectable sins” or “acceptable sins”, I call them Insidious sins. A big one of mine is pride. Like an iceberg, it doesn’t look and feel like it’s an issue day to day. Not until you sometimes fall over the water, got under and gain a peek into how deep and wide this sinful decay grows!
“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For 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. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:21-25, ESV
Paul explains the “law of sin”. He says a “war is waged” between the “law of my mind” and the members of his body who is “captive to the law of sin”. Paul declares that, as a Christian, he serves the law of God with his mind, but his flesh still serves the law of sin. Perhaps this is where the phrase “the mind is willing but the flesh is weak” came from. Notice, though, how he asks, “who will deliver?”. He also says he “serves”. Ultimately, he understands that the only way to win this war is through Jesus Christ our Lord. He knows that its only through the grace of God and the power of Jesus Christ can we win. Because the one we serve is the one who we can cling to for this hope of deliverance.
Let’s breakdown the mechanics of this in action. I had an episode of this just this morning!
In my sinful selfishness I wanted to sleep in. I was slow to get up and I knew that Kat had been up since 5:30am doing stuff. Finally at 7, she relented and came to me to ask me to carry Kephas. I was still switching into “get up” mode. So my temper was not in check and I barked at Mikaela. Carrying Kephas and bouncing him to sleep, I must have looked grumpy, tired and my face must have been pretty dark! But you see, inside me, what Paul called “my willing mind” was switched on. I had no ill will about carrying Kephas and bouncing him to sleep, but my fleshly members didn’t look the part. In this very case, my mind won but my flesh made me lose. I had successfully won this squrmish episode of the waging war and overwrote my sinful, lazy flesh and did what I needed to do. But as “collateral damage” I was angry and grumpy! So I still lost! My face and body didn’t look the part. In the end, Kat just got frustrated at my attitude and took Kephas back! I know at that moment the God has allowed me to push my pride and laziness aside and want to help. But I also know my flesh was fought back, kicking and screaming!
I had since explained this to Kat and we’re now good. But I kind of now realised how much “civil war” we are fighting inside of us as Christians. Do we realise it?! This morning’s incursion was somewhat a mission success by God’s grace but still not really… But what about the times when I had let my pride run amok without prayerfully keeping it in check? The thought scares me! I had recently realise that pride is such an insidious sin that it’s like a parasite. Parasites are designed to feed off the host without the host even knowing it. It will drain the host and sometimes poison it as well in the process. My insidious sin of pride is way more lethal than any major sin written in the Bible like adultery, murder, stealing, etc… Why? Because its unseen! Mine has take such a root in my life for such a long time that it is now second nature in me. I do it subconsciously! I practice the sin of pride without even knowing it or catching it before it comes out! If it is so covert, how can I even know to pray that God will work through Jesus Christ in me as Paul says?
I know submitting to Jesus doesn’t mean that I be lazy, so in this ongoing war against this hidden enemy, I’ve made a self-check list. Some of these have been brought to my attention by loving brothers and family.
- Do I use the word “I” a lot in my conversations and discussions?
- Do I barge in on conversations and cut people off? Simply too eager to tell my version without listening to others?
- Am I quick to defend myself?
- Do I feel self righteous injustice when I see wrong and am I quick to point out other people’s mistake in a way that they feel belittled?
- Do I practice conditional love? Do I do and say things expecting others to appreciate it.
- Do I crave the spotlight or in activities that would be easy success and busk in my own glory?
God allowed me to peel off my layers and peer into the darkness of my mind and heart and it scares me. I have built layers of self justifications and walls and blockers so that I myself can’t even catch these sins in me. This means war! This means training for a war. By God’s grace, this is his way of training for godliness. Pray, peel, dig, empty and fill with love, faith and hope. What is your insidious sin? Do you even know its there? If you don’t know it’s there, how can you pray and ask God to work through Jesus Christ in training to get rid of it?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9, ESV