Battling Secret & Besetting Sins (Part 1)
“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Yesterday, I concluded my devotional, on the importance of Flag Day with a reminder that I would continue with our series about Christian Artists. However, the Spirit of God has directed me to another subject today. I don’t know why I am being directed here, who knows it could be for no one else but me.
Many people fight battles that no-one knows except them and God. We all fight with something that we call besetting or secret sins. The word besetting means literally to be attacked on all sides or constantly attack or to obsess over. So when one says that they have besetting sins bothering them they are saying “I am being attacked on all sides, all the time.” When a person is critically attacked they begin to respond differently. How?
A. They obsess/worry over how they will escape
“Will I defeat this again?”
B. They obsess/worry over how they will react
“Will I mess up again?”
C. They obsess/worry over how others see them when they fail
“How will they see me?”
Disclaimer: “Secret sins and besetting sins are a real issue in the lives of Christians but through the power of the Gospel and submission to the Holy Ghost, one can have and see real victory. Results may vary from person to person and not all results will be the same.”
I. How Do I Battle Something That I Don’t Really Want To Battle?
In my life and in the lives of others that I have dealt with personally there is a division of temptations in their lives. It breaks down like this:
A. Besetting Sins – The sins that you really don’t want to give in to but it seems as if they press you so much that you simply collapse under the pressure. It’s almost like they make it so that the only way out is to actually yield to this sin that’s pressing you. (By the way: those that feel this pressure have put themselves into a press or a vice that they know will cause damage.)
B. Secret Sins – The sins that you really don’t want to commit but you secretly enjoy it but you don’t want everyone else to know that you enjoy them. So many people will erect massive walls as a safeguard to seemingly keep themselves away from the secret sin. (By the way: The builder of the wall knows how to knock it down and sometimes leaves a secret entrance.)
So what we see in these situations are the desires NOT to follow through with the sin but there is pressure and secret desire. Honestly, most Christians don’t want to actually be in strong temptation to a terrible addiction or stubborn habit. Let’s say smoking! They don’t want to continue smoking, and they know the hazards of it but the pain, misery and pressure to get another is stronger than their desire to say no. So they return back to that old habit in shame and defeat. Why? It’s a matter of desire and discipline! Anyone can say that they want to stop doing something when there is no pain or difficulty. When the difficulty and physical pain comes, often their discipline disappears and depression sets in because they realize that they aren’t strong enough to endure the fight.
Additionally, when most Christians fight or battle secret sins they find that they actually enjoy doing these things. The bible is clear about it actually being pleasant to a person for a while: Hebrews 11:25 “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” In my battle with secret sins, as a young believer, I found the following things to be true:
- As much as they were preached about and against, not too much would keep me from doing them when no one was around. Actually, I would find myself secretly desiring them despite the dangers.
- I knew that they were wrong but because I found myself becoming good at hiding it and not being discovered, I would feel a sense of invincibility and independence.
- They consumed more time deciding to follow through and leaving no time to spend with God. It made me appear to be righteous but inside I felt like a slave and a fraud.
- The guilt from my secret sin being consumed again made me feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. I would lay out of church, feeling like everyone knew when they really didn’t.
How do I fight something like this? How do I willingly yield to God when I really enjoy doing ___________? I don’t really think that God can help me get over this stubborn sin and addiction. How can the bible and God help me say no when I have no power or strength to fight something bigger than I? In tomorrow’s devotional, we will begin to breakdown the power behind besetting sins and how we can train our minds to say NO to secret sin more than we have before. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie.