THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
A WORLD WITHIN A WORLD II
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For the things that I do – I do not approve of; and the things that I desire to do, I fail to do. Instead I end up doing the things I hate. For the good that I would like to do – I do not: but the evil which I am preaching against and trying to avoid – I do.” (Romans 7:14,15,19) We are a servant to whom we obey, whether of God or self.
We are continuing with the seven sins of Proverbs:
A Hand that Devises Wicked Schemes – When a person has committed murder, involuntary manslaughter is usually a lesser charge than premeditated murder. The definition of “premeditated” means the murderer planned and schemed well ahead of time before they committed the act. They predetermined to kill someone so a person (a hand) that devises (plans ahead of time) wicked (evil) schemes (predetermining) is a sin that God hates. King David was such a man and God used Nathan to point this evil out to David. David did repent, (Psalm 51) but the fact remains that David schemed ahead of time about how to get rid of Uriah so that he could marry Bathsheba who was already pregnant by David in an adulterous affair. Sadly, King David gives Uriah a message to give to his commander which turns out to be orders for his own death. David paid dearly for this, losing his son and his marriage along with more of his family that faced much turmoil, and eventually the death of his older son Absalom. This level of sin is not without consequences.
The hand that devises wicked schemes is not limited to murder but includes anyone that plans ahead of time to do evil. This would include burglarizing homes knowing when the occupant(s) leave, or a burglary after a store closes, sabotaging someone’s car with a bomb, waiting in a dark alley to rob someone, or stalking a woman in order to rape or kill her. Anyone that plans ahead of time to do harm or evil to someone is a person that God is personally opposed to and everyone someday will give an account for every evil deed they do in their lifetime (Mathew 12:36, Romans 2:6). Some may say, “well I have never robbed, killed or raped anyone” and that might be true, however Christians can still be guilty of this sin when they secretly devise ideas and imaginations to deceive others for the purpose of personal gain. This could include everything from cheating on our taxes to backstabbing a co-worker to make ourselves look good in front of our boss. What about befriending an older person or dating someone wealthy with the sole intention of getting their money? What about an automotive repair shop that lies about services completed that was never done or someone that manipulates (bribes, blackmails) others for evil purposes? There are thousands of examples of evil secret schemes but whatever the case we can agree that God knows all of them and will judge in this life and the next. Those who have not believed in Jesus Christ and trusted Him as their Lord and Savior will face the Great White Throne Judgment and give an account for all their lifetime deeds. (Revelation 20).
Feet that are Quick to Rush into Evil – This is a person that is always eager to take part in an evil deed with others or to make a quick decision to do something harmful to another person. If their feet are quick to run into evil, they are already predisposed and already have an open attitude to rob, murder, hurt, lie, humiliate, or cheat others. They do not even need to think about it. They instantly run to do something where they see an easy opportunity. It is as if they are excited and thrilled to take advantage of someone in a vulnerable position, like someone leaving their purse on a restaurant table or finding someone’s wallet on the floor and rushing to pick it up and quickly taking it for themselves. Have you ever known a person that had a “quick” mind and could think of insulting things to say to others for the purpose of embarrassing them just to get a laugh? We should guard our mind and our mouth even if we do have a “gift” of being able to think fast. Actually, I know several people that when in a large crowd, they do not hesitate to heckle or stab someone with rude embarrassing insults.
A person that doesn’t even have to think about doing something wrong is always quick to do it. They rush ahead, not even thinking of the consequences, so they are either not a Christian and are without conviction from the Holy Spirit about thinking twice about it – or a carnal Christian that has no self-discipline. Whatever the case, their only goal is to take advantage of someone else for personal gain. The human heart, without the Holy Spirit, is desperately wicked and thinks nothing of jumping at the chance to do something wrong (Jeremiah 17:9). A Christian has to battle their conscience because God’s Spirit is attempting to restrain their behavior by “convicting” them to think about the consequences. Jumping at the opportunity with the intent to do something we know is inherently wrong is SIN.
A False Witness Who Pours Out Lies – Once again, we go back to the root of all sin: Pride. A prideful person is quick to lie about others in order to make themselves look better. Accusing others falsely shifts the blame from something they did or something that they should have done onto someone else. I have seen this happen many times in the workplace and even among family members. Some will constantly blame others for their own lack of responsibility and when things go wrong, they are always quick to point the finger. It is a common phrase in today’s world to hear how someone threw another person “under the bus.” This means the real victim was blamed for something that they did not do in order for the lying person to look like the one who was really trying to do what was right. They fail to shoulder the blame for something that they should have done or actually did do in order to accuse an innocent person who is not present to defend themselves. Even if no one was at fault, we should not look for someone to be the sacrificial lamb. This type of behavior is extremely harmful for the morale of any group and lowers the dignity of fellow human beings. As a Christian we should be strong and confident to speak the truth even if all fingers are pointing to us.
A false witness will lie in court, perhaps even at the risk of perjury, just to get out of a crime that they committed, or to steer away from the truth for some other reason while assessing the blame on an innocent party. A person who “pours out lies” loses all credibility in time and eventually, people will tend to not believe anything they say. Lies catch up with a person because they have to speak other lies to cover up the first one and many times they become so entrapped by their many lies that they become like a fly ensnared in a web. Their web gets so tangled up with their fabricated stories that they often become confused and it ends up backfiring on them and exposing them for who they are. We sometimes excuse an individual with saying they “exaggerate” which is a more socially acceptable way of saying they do not tell the truth. It is crucial to remember that our word represents the type of person we are. If our word has no character or integrity – then our heart cannot be trusted or be at peace in fellowship with God.
A Person that sows discord among brethren – This last but not least sin is one that has divided many churches. GOSSIP is one way to stir up conflict and divide even the closest of friends and family. A person who stirs up this type of conflict is like someone that throws gas on a fire that God is trying to put out. This “gas” comes from an evil heart filled with pride because it usually ends up being over how one side believes they are correct. Instigators love to bring up old issues that might have been resolved but are drawn to stir up the issue over and over again. When these people whisper their secrets it spreads like coals of a flame and becomes hotter and hotter until it eventually erupts into a devastating forest fire. The person who is continually stirring up division usually believes they are doing a great service by “warning” everyone of the potential danger. In their mind they are fighting for what is right but most of the time actually it is a rebellious mental and spiritual sickness and possibly a demonic influence to spread the seeds of discord. Like an infection our back-stabbing words of darkness can produce fear, doubt, anger, and a world of destruction.
Paul had many problems with the churches in this area and a person who stirred up conflicts would have at least been excommunicated because they were dividing the church – the Body of Christ – and this is a serious sin to Jesus who is the Head of the church. Paul taught against spreading rumors in his letter to the Corinthians as he comments, “That there should be NO schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (I Corinthians 12:25). It is all about having “genuine” respect for each other and truly loving each other as Christ commands for us to do as genuine Christians. The problem is that sometimes the church members become so carnal with bad attitudes like envy and jealousy, they cannot embrace each other in the Spirit of the Lord. Listen to Paul as he continues, “And when one member suffers, all the members suffer with them; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with them”. (Verse 26) You know as well as I do that it takes “walking” in the Holy Spirit to genuinely live at this level. Carnality does not care when other people suffer and jealousy is envious when someone is blessed. Our level of love measures who we are. Those who love to criticize and are first to spread rumors do not feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit because they do not have God’s Spirit of LOVE. When there is division in the church as there was in the Corinthian church, the cause of Christ and His witness is hurt and God will most definitely discipline those who are responsible.
To what extent will He judge you might ask? There is a very interesting example of God’s discipline that happened in the ministry of Moses found in the book of numbers (Chapter 16) that pertains to those who sow discord among the brethren. The Lord had placed Moses and Aaron in charge of leading the children of Israel. They had endured many things together in their journey and were the anointed and called “pastors” and teachers of God’s law. There was a man named Korah that evidently was also a respected leader but he did not agree with how things were going. Korah gathered 250 other trusted men of renown and came before Moses and Aaron to complain and criticize. They said that Moses had lifted himself up above the people and had “assumed” too much authority. Moses responded by saying that God would make that decision and PROVE the next day whom He wanted to lead the people. They gathered the next day and the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron to “move away” as I am about to “consume” this entire congregation. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and pleaded before God to spare the people. Moses told the people to move away from Korah and all those who side with him. The ground opened up and swallowed Korah and those who agreed with him including their tents and all their belongings, and then fire came out from the Lord and destroyed the 250 men of renown. The next day the people began to murmur again and accuse Moses and Aaron of having many good people of God killed. Again the presence of the Lord covered the tabernacle as a cloud and His Glory appeared and again He spoke to Moses to move away from the people as He was about to destroy all of them. And again Moses and Aaron fell on their faces to stand in the gap for the people. They took fire from the alter and burned incense and began to make atonement for the people. God instantly began to release His wrath in a deadly plague and before Moses and Aaron could come between the dead and the living, 14,700 people died. God in His great mercy stopped the plague when the atonement was made for their sin of rebellion.
Arrogance is at the heart of rebellion and is opposite of the reverential fear of God. We should have a fear of God’s anger for coming against God’s people. If we believe the leadership of God is not discerning correctly we should be quiet to others and instead make our concerns known to the Lord in private. It takes just as much energy to pray for others to see God’s truth, than it does to call over town and rail against their decisions. Satan encourages church people to confide in others and voice their opinions (disguised as worries). These judgments always appear innocent but are blatant disagreements that reveal just how highly we think of ourselves. The more pride we gather within our heart – the less respect we have for what others are doing and leads to our disregard for what God desires. To oppose something that is genuinely evil is one thing – but many times our rebellion falls under the category of doing great damage within God’s agenda. Jesus is the Head of His Kingdom and He will not allow the leaven of sin to permeate through His body and infect His people without consequences. Genuine holiness, humility and sanctification cannot co-exist with haughtiness or the spirit of riot and mutiny.
As we close this two part series about the seven deadly sins and the serious danger of becoming unintentionally entangled in their deception, I would like to share just a moment about some things I am experiencing. Lately I have been writing privately about the struggles of trying to raise the bar of Christian living. I say privately because even though I have been releasing a strong line of articles about sanctification, I have also been writing a booklet titled, “The Possible You”. It includes the joy of realizing that we can become the fulfillment of God’s “perfect will” along with the sobering reality of the war we will encounter if we so choose this direction. What I have been struggling with and I am sure you have also, is the unbelievable resistance of our mind to “change”. It seems the more I am determined to do what I need to do, the more I find myself not doing it – just like Romans seven explains. Dear Lord, please help us to be strong and at the same time completely reliant on you. We desperately need you. In Jesus Name, amen.