The following outline was used several times over the last two years as I challenged professional athletes about "secret sin". I felt in light of a recent news item concerning a pastor who was caught in a web of deception that these thoughts should be circulated. Father give us strength to rise above the mediocre during these difficult days!
THE MYTH OF THE SECRET SIN...
“But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. And keep me from deliberate wrongs; help me to stop doing them.” – Psalm 19:12,13 (The Living Bible)
“Our iniquities, our secret heart and its sins (which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves) You have set in the (revealing) light of Your countenance.” Psalm 90:8 (Amplified Bible)
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that it will not be made known.” – Luke 12:2 (NIV)
Four ministers were admitting their secrets sins one day.
1st – battled lustful thoughts and desires
2nd – struggled with gambling
3rd – had a secret addiction to alcohol
4th – could hardly wait to leave. His sin was gossip.
We may laugh at the story but the problem of “secret” sins is no joke. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said,
“Of all sinners the man who makes a profession of religion and yet lives in iniquity is the most miserable.”
One of the greatest hindrances to non-believers entrusting their lives to Christ is the multitude of hypocrites who preach one thing but secretly practice something totally opposite.
The problem of secret sins has destroyed:
- Ministries & Christian Leaders
- Marriages & Families
The reality is . . . THERE ARE NO SECRET SINS !!!
Hebrews 4:13 states this truth proving that nothing is hidden from God: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hear what Charles Spurgeon preached in a passionate sermon, decrying the wickedness of secret sins:
“To you, sirs, who sin secretly, and yet make a profession: you break God’s covenants in the dark and wear a mask of goodness in the light – to you, sirs, who shut the doors and commit wickedness in secret – to you I shall speak this morning. O may God also be pleased to speak to you, and make you pray this prayer: ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.’ I shall endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins, the misery of secret sins, the guilt of secret sins and the danger of secret sins. There is no hiding it from God. Thy sin is photographed in high heaven; the deed when it was done was photographed upon the sky, and there it shall remain, and thou shalt see thyself one day revealed to the gazing eyes of all men, a hypocrite, a pretender, who didst sin in fancied secret, observed in all thine acts by the all-seeing Jehovah.”
“O what fools men are, to think they can do anything in secret.”
“It may be a secret sin on earth, but it is open scandal in heaven.” - Lewis Sperry Chafer
Five Characteristics of a Secret Sin . . .
- A secret sin is a sin that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention. It is that practice or habit that we try to not have found out and when it is exposed we are humiliated and embarrassed.
- A secret sin is a sin that we fear those who wish to damage our reputation will spread notice of when it is found out.
- A secret sin is a sin that we are most hesitant to leave. It is that which we often find tempting us and worse still yielding to the temptation. It is often that which we have the least power to resist. It is that which keeps us most from the Word of God and prayer.
- A secret sin is that sin which we most seek to cover up. We justify it by making excuses, explain the extenuating circumstances, define distinctions in our favor, and evade the real problem.
- A secret sin is a sin that we fear the chapel leader might address in his sermon. Is he talking to me? Does he know? Have I been found out?
Your secret sin can be anything from pornography to bitter and hateful thoughts. One may not be any worse in God’s eyes but the consequences can be devastating. Sexual secret sins are epidemic in the lives of non-believers and Christian alike and run the gamut including:
- Lustful thoughts
- And others too gross to mention
Other non-sexual secret sins include:
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
How many marriages of ballplayers have been destroyed by one or more of these so-called secret sins! This morning we need to deal with whatever “secret sin” is destroying you and making you ineffective as an athlete, a husband, a father, a son!
These Five Steps for Overcoming Secret Sins can help YOU today:
- Renounce your sins and embrace God's forgiveness.
- Make yourself accountable to your pastor or a trusted Christian friend or teammate. Confess your secret sin to him. (see James 5:16)
- Make whatever changes are necessary to cut off all contact with the persons and places where your secret sin flourished. (see Eph. 5:11)
- Recognize your limitations and live accordingly. (see 1 Cor. 10:12-13)
- Meditate on the scriptures, and ask God to reveal His truth through them. (see Ps. 119:11)
May this be your prayer today as you determine of rid your life of the secret sins that will ultimately destroy you, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” - Psalm 51:10 (NIV)