The other day I was reading Matthew 5:21-28 in my devotional time. In this passage Jesus is making a point that our inward sinful thoughts and attitudes are as serious as our outwardly obvious sins. I am guessing that, for most of us, our struggle with sin lies within more than in obvious outward behaviors. Either way, Jesus reminds us that sin is sin.
Recently, I have been praying that the Holy Spirit would shine His light on any areas of inward sin that I have either been unaware of or have purposefully ignored. One morning He showed me a particularly ugly sinful attitude that I had been unaware of. I was inwardly jealous of someone who I perceived that God was blessing more than He was blessing me. The ugliest part was that I thought I was more "deserving" of God's blessing than this person. I told you it was ugly. When the Holy Spirit revealed it to me, I was disgusted that I would even, could even, think like that. I acknowledged what God had shown me and I tearfully repented.
You may not be aware of my battles with sin by my outward appearance. However, God and I know that inwardly I battle a tendency to be faultfinding and critical. I battle pride and self centeredness. My struggle to overcome these tendencies are as real as any battle with an outwardly visible sin of the flesh. Sin is sin, and whether it's hidden on the inside or visible on the outside, it weighs us down as we are running our race for God. I want to be free from this weight of sin. Thank God that He has provided a way of escape. Jesus became my offering for sin. He paid the price for ALL of it...the sins I've committed that no one knows but God alone and the sins that I've committed in front of God and everybody. Thank God for the cleansing from sin that Jesus' death provided for me! But, Jesus didn't stop there. He rose from the grave! Through both His death and His resurrection, Jesus Christ subdued, overcame and deprived sin of its power over me. When I accept Christ's sacrifice, His Holy Spirit dwells within me and gives me power over these besetting sins. I don't have to wallow in a hopeless struggle with sin. Through Jesus Christ, the power of sin in my life is broken! Hallelujah!