I have a 5-year-old daughter that is the sweetest of the sweet. She has the most sensitive little heart. When we rescued a dog from the pound she cried for 2 days because Lucas didn’t know where his Mommy and Daddy were. When the baby bird fell out of the tree and the dogs killed it, she was inconsolable. When I pack her lunch for school she always saves something in her lunch box for her little sister who is 3. She wants to make sure she brings her something home from school. If the teacher gives her a treat she will hold onto it to give to the littlest. She is absolutely precious and I love her tender heart.
But that sensitive heart comes with a price. She is sensitive to everything and so we find her often afraid. She’s afraid of all sorts of things. Her latest fear is of grass. A recent encounter with some yellow jackets whose nest was in the grass have us on “grass alert”. Nothing but sidewalks and asphalt for this girl. Makes life interesting.
Her fears REALLY come out at night. She’s afraid of the dark and afraid to be alone. Last night she started her routine of how she wanted to sleep in my bed. Hub and I have rules about kids in the bed with us. Call us crazy, but we think everyone has a bed and that’s where they should sleep. But we also realize that kids have bad dreams, wake up during the night and that can be kind of creepy. When that happens they can come to our bed. Get a hug from mom, snuggle a little until they calm down and hopefully I will stay awake long enough to get them settled back into bed and back to sleep.
I got daughter #3 asleep last night after her outbursts of fears and then I went to sleep. At some point during the night I woke up because this little hand landed on my face. I look over and right there in between me and my other half is daughter #3, sound asleep as snug as a bug in a rug. When did she get there? How did I not notice since she had to climb OVER me to get into her comfy spot. But there I was with little arms and legs draped over me all tangled up.
The thing about kids in the bed with you is that they are all-elbows and knees. I tried to roll over and turn my back to her but those knees and elbows are like voo doo needles causing you pain. I’m not sure how long this went on, but I was glad when the alarm clock went off this morning because as hard as I tried to sleep, the sleep was not good. She wouldn’t give me a minutes peace. So why didn’t I just get up, pick her up, put her in her bed so that I could sleep in peace and not feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck today? Seriously, having half the bed is way better than hanging onto the edge with only a paper towel worth of blanket.
Well, I hate to draw an analogy that would compare my little cherub to sin, but I was struck this morning at how sin acts in our lives. If you have walked with the Lord for some time, you probably wouldn’t say you live in sin all the time. I mean, we’re pretty sensitive to outward sin. We know the “list” of big things we shouldn’t be doing, so any outward sin usually comes in the form of relationships. We get angry at someone. We say something unkind. We yell at our kids. We won’t talk to someone. But those sins are pretty obvious. If not to us, then to the people around us and because they are outward there’s some accountability in that. We deal with it. Or at least recognize it. On more than one occasion I have yelled at a kid only to see their eyes well up with tears. That calls me up short. I recognize my sin and I must deal with it.
(Here’s a side thought I’ll give you totally for free today: One of the most powerful things a parent can say to a child is “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” If you are too proud to humble yourself before a child then you are doing both of you a terrible disservice. First you are harboring sin in your life and keeping things with God unreconciled, and He is greatly displeased when a child is hurt. Second, you are teaching that child that the feelings of others don’t matter and saying “I’m sorry” isn’t necessary. If you think that child will grow up to be a forgiving adult, think again. If you refuse to make amends with a child you have hurt with your sharp tongue or a broken promise, you will reap the unfortunate results, and so will they, for years to come.)
Ok – back to sin. We recognize our outward sin, but the sin that is often our biggest issue is the ones nobody sees. I just went through some training for CEF and here’s the definition they use for sin: Anything we say, do or THINK that is contrary to God’s word. We can often keep in check the things we say and do because others see those. But the things we think…..now that can be a problem. Let me be clear: If you think it and it is contrary to God’s word then it is sin, whether you act on it or not. In Matthew 5:28 the Lord Jesus says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Nothing outward has happened here. He’s dealing with the thoughts of a man and he calls it adultery. Our thoughts are serious business with God.
Now I’m not trying to beat you over the head. We are all sinful creatures and prone to wander. I’m not telling you that you will never think sinful thoughts. I’m saying deal with them. What might they look like? Resentment, Unforgiveness, Anger, Pride, Selfishness, Insecurity, Anxiety, Fear, Lust, Discontentment. You get the idea. These are all contrary to God’s word but we refuse to call them what they are: Sin. Rather, we say “It’s just how I am.” Sorry folks, we don’t get to confuse sin with a personality trait.
Here’s how it works. Those sinful thoughts, they sneak into bed with you when you’re not paying attention. They begin to take over all the space in your mind and steal away your comfort. Before you know it, they are gouging at you like pins causing you pain. You try to ignore it and turn the other way but that sin is still there entangling you, wrapping you up in its arms and won’t give you a minutes peace, leaving you feeling trampled. It won’t be ignored. It has to be removed in order to have peace.
Here’s some things the Lord has to say about our thoughts and sin:
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments 5 and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.”
Mark 9:43 – “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter into life crippled than to have two hands and go into hell.”
Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. 2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.”
Philippians 4:6-9 – “6 Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. 9 And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Friends, sins of the mind and heart are just as serious as those that are outward. Even more so I think, because they push us to be deceptive with ourselves and Satan is the father of deception. DEAL WITH THEM! Ask God to shine the light of truth into the darkest parts of who you are and show you your sin so that it can be cleansed. God is gracious. He desires us to be victorious in EVERY part of our lives and our minds are the battleground where that victory is won.
The human mind and heart is a marvel. It hold our deepest secrets. Our greatest joys. Our deadliest sins. Jeremiah said in 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Only God friends. Only God. Let him clean your heart. Lord, clean mine.
“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24
Yes Lord, may it be so.