Many Christians hold on to hidden and pet sins—seemingly concealed from others and supposedly overlooked by God. Actually, there is no such thing as secret sin. God sees and knows everything. The psalmist said: “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence” (Psalm 90:8).
Are we Christians who use words or participate in activities that dishonor the Lord, but have done them for so long that the initial conviction of God’s Spirit has been dulled? Have we become desensitized and no longer feel remorse or guilt? Or do we rationalize why it is “not that bad” and condone our actions with the excuse that probably everybody—including Christian leaders—are doing them.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit and your own conscience once convicted you about certain sins, but you made excuses and persisted in wrong attitudes or behaviors. The Spirit is grieved from willful, unrepentant sin and will eventually cease from convicting you. Therefore, do not falsely conclude that your hidden or pet sins are no big deal. They are a big deal and need to be overcome.
Dr. Adrian Rogers insightfully said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
If you mistakenly turn your shower water to cold, it shocks your system and you will immediately jump back. But if you gradually turn the water cooler and cooler, your body begins to adapt and you hardly notice the transition. So too, people can fall away from the Lord, gradually becoming lukewarm and complacent, then cold and calloused without realizing it. Eventually they condone a lifestyle that contradicts their profession of faith: they have forsaken their First Love.
We must never become complacent or tolerant of willful sin in our lives! Instead, we can diligently seek to be set free by walking God’s pathway to triumph—transformed by His Spirit and through His Word, to live victoriously as champions in a great contest!
We must repent of repetitive, willful and hidden sins, and make Him Lord over every area of our lives. We must not tolerate and justify secret sins, saying, “Well, you know, I can’t be perfect; everyone has problems. So, I am going to hold on to my jealousy, my gossiping, my gluttony, my greed, my arrogance, my lust. I will continue in this relationship or practice even though it is contrary to Your Word. I am going to keep looking at pornography and continue in immoral relationships. I will keep watching immoral and occult movies. I will keep on doing this or that but I still love You Lord, and I still want to serve You.”
John Blanchard states: “No man can prove that he is a child of God without showing the family likeness.” Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God, and Romans 8:29 indicates that we are to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Clean out the hidden and pet sins in your life that hinder your walk with Christ. Purity of heart and life are essential to experiencing the Five P’s of the Lord: peace, provision, protection, presence and power!
Three Levels of Christian Life
Most Christians go through three levels of commitment. First is Feelings. That’s okay if you are a new Christian, but if you have been walking with the Lord for several years, it is unnatural and unhealthy to run around in the spiritual diapers of feelings and experiences. It’s time to grow up.
Second is Commitment. This is where we live by obedience and commitment, regardless of how we feel. It is where we do what God’s Word says, what His Spirit directs—whether we want to or not.
Thinking of commitment as the ultimate level, I lived that way for many years. However, there is what I call the Desire level. But before I tell you what it is, let me explain how I came to discover it.
While in Phoenix in the summer of 1988, I was reflecting on my relationship with the Lord and everything that had been happening: the Middle East where my family and I were caught in a potential hijacking and hostage situation and all the trauma associated with it; the death of my father from a heart attack; my wife diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor; the Oregon wreck in which our car was totaled in a four-vehicle collision; the tire blowout and frightening near-accident with the next rental car I was driving through Arizona. I reflected on these and other related incidences (I later wrote about in Strength through Weakness booklet) and asked the Lord why they were happening. He impressed on my heart these three levels of commitment, especially the third and ultimate dimension of our Christian life—the Desire level.
You should know that as you enter the Desire level, the things and attractions of this world will dim in comparison to knowing the Lord. You find yourself despising things you once loved and loving that which you once disdained!
Excerpts from “Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ” by Bill Rudge. To request a copy of this book, free of charge, write to Bill Rudge Ministries, P. O. Box 108, Sharon, PA 16146-0108.