A tremendous burden on my heart is the lack of genuineness in many who profess Christ. I am saddened to the point of tears over this. Although I’ve been saved over 25 years, I’ve needed God’s grace to get me to where I am today. Although I haven’t “arrived” – I’ve asked God to give me a heart like His. I am sure that is why sin and double-mindedness grieve me so much. My heart cries out, “Who can God trust to be faithful to Him?”
Who can truly and deeply know everything about you except you, yourself, and God? Do your parents, siblings, spouse, children, or friends know every thought you think, every action, or every word you speak (whether good or bad)? Of course not. Those closest to us may know a large percentage of who we are by our actions, words, and deeds – even still, they cannot see what is in our mind and heart.
Are we genuine to the core? Are we truly Christ-like, even in private? Would we be ashamed if our spiritual life were “hacked” and our lives were broadcast for all the world to see?
A Great Gulf Fixed
“… between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
Just as there is a great gulf fixed between Heaven and Hell; there is also an unspoken chasm between our thoughts, motives, deeds – and what people see outwardly. In other words, our thoughts and secret words or actions can become a privately painful, sinful, dishonest place. However, it is also a place of safety, in a sense, because no human can ever access that secret corner. It’s almost as if it is “off-limits” which gives us a false sense of control and security. However, nothing – and, I mean NOTHING – is hidden from God. He knows and sees all. Do we care? Does it matter to us if we offend God and are unfaithful to Him and His ways?
Sure, we may call ourselves “Believers” – but do our secret lives add up? For those who put up a facade of being Godly, yet, are in deep secretive sin – well, Jesus called such ones “hypocrites.” In Matthew 23:25, Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.”
Our unseen thoughts and motives are very real; likewise, God – although unseen – is very real, and He sees all. Of course, He is forgiving and merciful; but, should we keep on sinning and take advantage of this? “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).
How can we, in good conscience, be okay with secret sin? Why is it shameful to publically sin, yet, somehow okay to sin secretively? Why don’t such people care? They think, “Oh well, no one sees or knows…” Why don’t they care that God Almighty knows? Or does He even matter to them anymore, though they bear His name? The Holy Spirit can be grieved – do they care if they hurt Him?
There is no way to divorce our secret life from our public life in God’s eyes; for He keeps account of it all, whether good or evil. Oh, that there would be a great gulf fixed between Christians and sin! We are ambassadors for our King. We must represent Him well. Of course, we fail and sometimes fall – but do we learn, repent, and move forward? Or do we perpetually repeat the same sins and continue to bring hurt and shame to ourselves and those around us? As the wise missionary, Keith Daniel, once said… “You forget the people you love when you’re sinning.” Let us not forget our loved ones nor forget God, who we claim to love.
“If lips and life do not agree, the testimony will not amount to much.” ~Harry Ironside
Oftentimes, we think of a double-minded person (a person living a double-life) as one who is a secret monster, of sorts. We think of the pedophiles and those who commit heinous crimes secretly. While there are many who fit that bill, let’s also think of other ways which we, ourselves, may be living a double-standard.
Do we proclaim the name of Jesus while espousing worldly beliefs? Does blessing and cursing come from the same lips? Do we pray in the morning, then engage in “R-rated” entertainment at night? Do we speak the truth on Sunday and tell lies on Monday? All such double-minded ways will have repercussions.
As the late pastor, A.W. Tozer, once said: “I think that most Christians would be better pleased if the Lord did not inquire into their personal affairs too closely. They want Him to save them, to keep them happy, and to take them off to heaven at last, but not to be too inquisitive about their conduct or services.”
Scripture states: “For he knows those who are false, and he takes note of all their sins” (Job 11:11). It also says, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). When sin is exposed, we are reminded of the scripture in Numbers 32:23 which says, “…be sure your sin will find you out.” In other words, sin will catch up with us, overtake us, and oftentimes, be exposed in the most shameful way.
People are deceived into believing that they can find freedom in sin… quite the contrary. It is a prison.
There is a line in the movie “God’s Not Dead” which says… “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”
There is tremendous freedom in knowing that we are in right-standing with God. When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed!
When Secrets are Good
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” ~Psalm 91:1
For the Christian, there is true safety in the secret place. These secret places are sacred and treasured by God’s children. One such place is in the secret prayer closet; where we can commune with our Maker in solitude. When Jesus took on the form of a man and came to earth, he often pulled away from the crowds to have a private time of prayer with the Father.
Matthew 6:6 states: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
We unburden our hearts in the secret place of prayer. Our prayers are known only to Him. Time alone with God becomes our hiding place from the world’s stressors and demands. When we totally surrender our lives to Christ, He is our hiding place – we must no longer hide in secretive sin.
Instead of the proverbial “skeletons in the closet”, we now have a secret “closet” of prayer. He fills us with His love. We no longer sound a trumpet before us when we do charitable acts as to be applauded by men. We now give secretly instead of sinning secretly. He will put a new nature in us – praise God!
Why would one stray from this? “What is the cause of most backslidings? I believe, as a general rule, one of the chief causes is neglect of private prayer.” Although this quote from JC Ryle was taken from the 1800’s, it is still very true today. Let us not neglect this secret time of prayer.
God Can Keep Us From Falling
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” ~Jude 1:24-25
As author Thomas A. Kempis so eloquently wrote:
“Often those who stand highest in the esteem of men, fall the more grievously because of their over great confidence. Wherefore it is very profitable unto many that they should not be without inward temptation, but should be frequently assaulted, lest they be over confident, lest they be indeed lifted up into pride, or else lean too freely upon the consolations of the world.”
We must never be overconfident in our own ability to refrain from secret sin. We must trust the Savior to help us. He is able to keep us from falling as we cultivate our relationship with Him on a daily basis. If you sin – especially when no one is looking, immediately admit to yourself and God, aloud, “I’m living a double-life! This is hypocritical! Lord, purge this sin from me! Forgive me and help me to be genuine.”
Always remember James 1:8… “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Oh Lord, help us to be unwavering, stable, and true. Help us to stop compromising and making excuses for continuing in sin. Make us into ambassadors who are genuine, through-and-through!
“If you’ve got to always be covering up your Christianity for the way you live, what you need is a revival! You need it quick and you need it bad. We ought to live such perfectly clean, open lives everywhere we go… so that when we get into a religious conversation, we won’t be afraid to shame our testimony by the way we’ve lived.” ~A.W. Tozer
“True Christianity follows a man home.” ~Pastor Tim Conway
“When wealth is lost; nothing is lost. When health is lost; something is lost. When character is lost; all is lost.” ~Billy Graham
“If Satan have half, he will have all; if the Lord have but half, he will have none.” ~Matthew Henry
“Compromising Christianity undermines the effect of the Gospel.” ~ Keith Daniel
“Friend, how would you feel if your heart were made with a window on each side? So that all could see, not just outward charm, but detect if inward harm? People often see you as you are outside, but Jesus really knows you – for He sees inside. How about your heart? Is it right with God? That’s the thing that counts today.” ~Bennie S. Triplett
Psalm 56:8: “You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?”
Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
Revelation 21:8: “… and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…”
2 Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
1 Samuel 16:7: “… for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Jeremiah 16:17: “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.”
Video: “Hypocrisy” Sermon Snippet by Keith Daniel