I absolutely do not like commercials. There, I said it! They run the gambit from annoying to reprehensible. However, once in a blue moon, there comes along an advertisement that is both endearing and heartwarming. I recently saw just such an endorsement. It wasn’t the promoted product that commanded my attention, but rather a statement made by Lou, the 90 year old “star” of said commercial. You see, in this commercial, Lou finds a new sweeper conveniently placed on her front porch. As she takes her new gift for a test run, she is amazed at how easily it is maneuvered into tight crevices, but more than that, the amount of hidden filth it uncovers. She immediately tells her husband, Morty, that they have been living in a fool’s paradise.
It brought to mind some of the unsightly areas hidden away in our own lives. I believe that many times we harbor “pet sins” that we feel are easily concealed from the world. So much so, that if we are not careful, we can be lulled into complacency. A complacency that may lead us to the point of not seeing these tucked away sins. Our consciences become dulled and we rarely feel pangs of guilt. We may go to sleep every night at ease even reveling in how clean our “houses” are. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the apostle Paul warned, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” How often do we examine ourselves? Do we sweep into every nook and cranny looking for sin, or are we content to live in ignorance? Acts 17:30 tells us, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.” Without this repentance, we will fail the only test we will ever take that really counts. The great news is this is a test for which we can prepare. We do this by taking a serious look at the following areas.
if we are not careful, we can be lulled into complacency. A complacency that may lead us to the point of not seeing these tucked away sins. Our consciences become dulled and we rarely feel pangs of guilt. -Shanna Mathis Anderson
1. Our Minds:
The Bible often refers to the mind as the heart. In Matthew 5:8 we see that only the pure in heart will be blessed to see God. We must be careful when trusting our own hearts as a guide when it comes to purity because: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Also Proverbs 21:2 declares, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” Are we coddling any of the following in our hearts?
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…” (Ephesians 4:26).
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” (Proverbs 10:12)
“He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18)
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
“…not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…” (Romans 12:11).
2. Our Mouth:
The tongue is an unruly evil (James 3:8) and death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a citadel” (Proverbs 18:19). Are we using our mouths to do the following?
“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices…” (Colossians 3:9)
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Matthew 18:15).
“A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
- Foul language
“…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:4).
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
3. Our Members:
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:12-13). “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:30). Are we using our members as instruments of righteousness or are we doing the following?
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
- Practicing immodesty
“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
- Engaging in eating disorders
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- Becoming Drunk
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18)
John Galbraith put it well when he said, “In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, one should also afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, and even happily wrong” . Are we content and even happy living with our pet sins? If so, we must allow ourselves to feel the pain sin breeds and repent. If not, the only paradise we may have the opportunity to inhabit is one fitting for a fool.
By Shanna Mathis Anderson