Indulging in secret sins of the heart is comparable to touching a sore tooth with your tongue to eliminate pain. We return to the source of pain, time and again, without finding a viable solution to stop the root cause of discomfort. Christians are especially accountable to God for committing sins that non-believers also engage in. God is holy and does not relate to someone who knowingly and habitually sins. Sin ends your fellowship with God.
Why would anyone flirt with a secret sin of the heart? Here’s an example of how we get into trouble. We believe that lying is a small sin. Lying then turns into a deceitful heart that flirts with the next door neighbor. We call it casual, harmless banter. Before we know it, we’re thinking about helping out with chores. Then, we’re contemplating how much better that person seems suited to our personality, compared to our mate. We’re off and running towards a slippery slope of playing hide and seek with God and ourselves.
In 2 Kings 17:9-18, the Israelites committed secret sins by constructing molten images and burning images in high places. God always addresses the sin, more than once, to give us a chance to repent. He did so in this situation too, but the Israelites hardened their hearts—sound familiar to anyone? We might misbehave rather innocently at first and then sin regularly becoming proud, stubborn, and above correction.
What Are Secret Sins?
I’m not talking about raiding the freezer late at night to eat chips out of Stracciatella or Rocky Road ice cream. Secret sins involve sinning against God through coveting, idolatry, or behavior involving sex, drugs, and alcohol.
According to Today’s Christian Woman, 65 percent of men and 55 percent of women will commit adultery. These percentages include Christians as well as pastors also admitting to sexual infidelity. Equally alarming is that porn watching is as prevalent among Christians, both men, and women, as non-Christians. A biblical example of secret sinning is King David who lusts after Bathsheba, commits adultery, and then murders her husband to cover up the deed. In his case, trying to hide sin multiplies into several sins.
Galatians 5:19-21 provides a list of secret sins. “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance–as I told you before–that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Do you secretly hate people or think up ways to create havoc without anyone finding out it’s you? How about keeping back a tithe that belongs to God like Ananias and Sapphira did in Acts 5:1-11. They hoarded money, lied to God, and died on the spot when exposed.
Realize Secret Sins Are Pleasurable For a Season
Luke 8:17 – For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Secret sins everyone else does convince us it’s not a big deal. People may believe that sins are hidden so God doesn’t know or they don’t care He knows. “Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”, says the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24, NLT)
Notice the behavior of those that sin in secret. A thief hides and lurks about in the dark, murderers cover their tracks, and people pursuing sensual pleasures do so behind closed doors. They know it’s wrong.
God told Adam and Eve they should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They ate anyway and then hid from God, crouching in fear among the trees while covering their bodies. What they did in secret was pleasurable to their senses for a short season. People hiding alongside their deeds of darkness fear discovery even while they enjoy the sin.
Steps to Eliminate Secret Sins in Your Life
- Develop a repentant heart towards sin whether we consider it big or small. In Jeremiah 17:9, the prophet reminds us that “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (NLT). John Calvin said the “heart is an idol factory.” By knowing this, we can stay proactive so we don’t fall into traps set by satan. At the first sign of disobedience, repent quickly.
- Don’t blame our sins on someone else like Adam and Eve did. Eve blamed the serpent, and Adam blamed both Eve and God. When God withdraws from us because of sin, it seems like He doesn’t know. On the contrary, He’s giving us an opportunity to come clean.
- Seek forgiveness from God and anyone you’ve hurt when engaging in secret sins. Any Christian can start over when they’ve messed up. That’s the beauty of serving a God with a merciful heart.
- Admit to others when we’ve sinned and solicit their prayers on our behalf. Exposing sin for what it is frees us to restore fellowship with God and people.
- Meditate on The Word of God frequently to stay armed and ready for a battle against the flesh. Sinning is a spiritual problem that requires a spiritual solution.
No one enjoys being in bondage to behavior meant to destroy our lives. When we live close to God, we protect ourselves from the onslaught of the enemy who is intent on bringing us harm and destruction. What secret sins do you need to eliminate from your life? Are you ready to do an about-face and bring secret sins out of the darkness into the light?