Hi friends, it is such a joy to speak to you through this blog once again. I pray the Lord will bless you abundantly through this article.
David prays to the Lord saying cleanse me from secret sins (Psalm 19:12)
Friends, not dealing with secret sins can have a catastrophic impact on your life later. In recent times, we have been hearing of many famous servants of God falling from grace on account of their secret sins being exposed to the public. We can hide our sin for a certain time, but the Lord one day will bring everything hidden out into the open. 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.
What are secret sins?
The most common secret sin that affects most people is lust. This could be lust for sex, lust for money or possessions or wealth and lust for power or fame. For many during their younger days or before they came to know the Lord, they had given their minds over to these lusts. Hence lust has built a stronghold in their minds. The result of this stronghold is that ever so often you get the desire or attractions towards lusting after one or all of the above things I mentioned. For example, if you have spent your life time giving into the lust for sex by viewing pornography or looking at women or men lustfully or masturbating, there is a good chance ever so often those desires will begin to get stimulated every time you see something provocative. Sometimes you see men staring at every women who walks by. The world will consider such stares to be normal and acceptable. However, they are evidence of the stronghold of lust in a person’s mind.
How do we overcome such strongholds of lust in the mind?
When we encounter Christ, our spirit is born again. Thereafter our minds need to be renewed (Romans 12:2) and our flesh needs to be crucified (Galatians 5:24). For us to be able to crucify our flesh, our minds also need to be renewed. It is our minds that most times controls or directs the actions of the flesh.
Thoughts turn into actions. Lust begins in the mind before it manifests as an action.
So how do we overcome lust in our minds? Well here are some key points to remember.
1) Strongholds in the mind will not be broken in a day or two
If you have spent a lifetime of feeding your mind with lust, there is going to be a struggle and a battle in overcoming and destroying the stronghold that has been created in your mind. Your mind’s initial reaction at seeing something provocative will be to react in the way it has been programmed to react over many years. So, destroying the strongholds in your mind will take time. Patience and perseverance is needed in this journey.
2) We need the help of Holy Spirit
Without the power of Holy Spirit, we will never be able to destroy the strongholds in our minds. Galatians 5:16 says ‘So I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.’ How do we walk by the Spirit? It is a life of daily prayer and seeking God through His Word that makes our spirit, mind and body more and more sensitive to the work, voice and guidance of Holy Spirit. So, as you spend time with Him and fellowship with Him, you will see His power at work in greater ways. Whenever you sense those urges of lust rising in your mind, you must reach out to Holy Spirit in prayer asking Him for His strength.
3) Practice continuous resistance to those urges
Romans 6:13 says ‘Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness.’
The more we give our mind over to those old patterns of thinking, the more the stronghold will continue to remain in our minds. Hence whenever we are faced with a provocation, it is vital we resist the urges that rise within our mind to either look a second time or stare more at the person or image who causes the provocation of lust within us. Resist the urge to glance through a little more or watch more of the image or video that causes a provocation of lust within you. Resist the urge to glance at or read a little more of that article that creates the provocation of lust within you. If a woman dressed provocatively walks by; resist that urge to give a second look or long stare.
Some people cannot control their impulse for money and possessions. They live beyond what they earn just to satisfy those lusts. Hence when a person gives into these impulses for extravagant living repeatedly, they start to do even unlawful things to earn money to feed those impulses. Same with the lust for power and fame. Resist those urges that make you want to self promote yourself or exalt yourself or get attention and glory for yourself when you serve God in ministry.
Friends, practice continuous resistance when provocations rise. Do not give into them. Instead do the following.
4) Replace your old thoughts with new.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Your mind so far has been programmed to accept lust. Now it must be reprogrammed in Christ to reject lust and accept only what Philippians 4:8 says. For that, what you watch, read, and listen matter. When you decide to watch, read, or listen to anything make sure you evaluate it based on Philippians 4:8.
Those struggling with sexual lust will have to take extra additional precautions with their online activity. Spending time alone in front of your PC, Laptop or phone is putting yourself in a position where you can fall back into your old habits. Hence moving your PC or Laptop to a public area in your house or office is a good idea. Even replacing your phone with a phone without internet capabilities will go a long way to help you reprogram your mind and breakdown the strongholds of lust. Even on social media you find enough of provocations. Moving out of social media completely is a particularly good idea until you break down the strongholds in your mind and develop self-control.
5) You need team support.
We must confide our weaknesses with spiritual elders. This is very, very important for those who are serving God. Serving God is not something you can do alone. We need to hold hands with others and move forward in the work of God. We need mentorship and accountability to a set of godly servants of God who are not afraid to even scold us and scream at us at times. I am thankful now I have such a set of elder servants of God from the AOG who will look me in the eye and say ‘Romesh, this is wrong.’
Many servants of God surround themselves with an Elder board of people who will only say ‘Yes’ to everything they say. Most often these are believers from their own congregation. This is bad. The ideal method is to surround yourself with outside, independent, strong and godly servants of God who will encourage you with prayer, rebuke you with counsel and hold your hand during the times of testing.
Also, many do not like confiding their weaknesses to others. This is also bad. Unless we confide and get counsel and prayer support from others, we will always find it hard to overcome strongholds in our mind.
Not dealing with secret sins can have life destroying implications later on in life. In the recent past I have read of instances of CEOs of top companies in many countries being asked to resign over sexual scandals. When it is a servant of God who falls, it is even worse. The name of the Lord is put to open shame. When the secret sin is no longer secret, a person will lose their name, their life, their family, their legacy, their ministry, their career and might even be imprisoned if they have done something unlawful.
Proverbs 28:13 ‘whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.’
So never cover your sin. If we have a weakness, a stronghold in our mind that keeps making us fall into sin, let us confess it and seek help from the Lord and His servants. Then our lives will always stay blessed and we can finish the race with greater glory. Remember the Lord loves you so much. That is why He is speaking to you through this article today. May the Lord bless you.