I assume we've all been there at some point, even as believers—that is, in a place where we're losing the battle with hidden sin. We continue in the darkness despite what hidden sin does to us.
- It creates continual anxiety. That anxiety is usually the combination of Holy Spirit conviction about sin and personal worry about getting caught. Genuine believers can't outrun the Holy Spirit.
- It costs us sleep. Or, at least, it had better cost us sleep—as it does for many believers. Physical rest doesn't come easy when we're spiritually at war with ourselves.
- It harms our witness. On one hand, we don't proclaim the Good News much when we're living in sin. On the other hand, our message lacks joy if we do try to evangelize out of our darkness.
- It turns us from the people of God. Brothers and sisters in Christ are here to help us walk faithfully, but we turn away from them when we have hidden sin. Their presence itself is too convicting.
- It harms our relationships. Even if those closest to us don't know what's going on, it's hard to love others fully and freely when our heart is torn apart by sin and conviction. Those who know us best will often figure out that something's not right.
- It dulls our spiritual senses. The more we live in hidden sin, the more our heart grows numb to our sin. God's intervention to bring us back is then often traumatic and painful.
- It robs us of His power. Not only do we likely pray less when we're losing this battle, but our prayers also become ineffective when sin reigns (Isa. 59:1-2).
- It ultimately brings more pain than pleasure. That's hard to recognize when we're the prodigal son first spending our money on riotous living, but we realize it once we're eating among the pigs.
- It places us among those who ridicule the cross. The death of Jesus means little to us if we can continue to sin against its backdrop.
- It puts us in the place of God's judgment. For some, it may show that we were never believers in the first place (1 John 3:8). For others who are indeed believers (and I realize that not everyone agrees here), it may bring God's discipline to protect our salvation—including judging us with death if needed (1 Cor. 5:5).
Hidden sin simply isn't worth it. Take some time today to pray that all of us will walk in the light.
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.
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