When we are alone

You are what you are when you are alone!

Oswald Chambers in a devotional for March 17 (My Utmost for His Highest), says, “My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life.” That is a chilling thought.

The outward life of a Christian is not the measure of our true nature. It is important since we are to be a reflection of Christ as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us. What others see in us should be Jesus. But, is that really me?

Unfortunately, that reflection may be a façade to what we really are privately. Introspection is the examination of my inner thoughts, it reveals to me what I really am. Introspection often leaves me disappointed when the Holy Spirit points out that my inner person is not the person I want others to see.

The problem is, though others don’t see it, it is the real me. I would be totally embarrassed for others to see the real inner person. Why? Because my thought life often betrays the person I really want to be. The Holy Spirit convicts me as much about my private thoughts and motivations as He does the life that I let others see.

What do we do about it? The Catholic would take it to a priest and confess it. The non-Catholic has a priest also – Jesus Christ is our priest. The convicting Holy Spirit who brings it to mind in the first place, is also the stand-in for the Christ Priest who stands ready to forgive.

When We are alone (cont)

But, merely confessing is not enough. There also needs to be a spirit of repentance. Repentance is confession with the determination that it will not be repeated. For me to harbor any thoughts that, because I enjoy it for a while, I can look forward to visiting there again. God’s Word says, “there is no such thing”. That is not true repentance. True repentance is saying, “I will not” – “I shall not”, repeat that sin in my heart, ever, ever, again!

So then, what if we do? “I did not plan to but I did”. There should be a renewed conviction at that point. The whole process begins again. We go through it all over again. The glorious truth is there is no limit to God’s grace and forgiveness. His love is infinite and never ending.  However, that should never be the crutch. I know I can sin again, even in my private life and know that God will forgive.

Paul says in Romans 6:1-3 (NIV)
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Just because we know we can sin (even privately) and receive God’s forgiveness every time, is not to be abused. That very thought becomes sin in and of itself. God’s grace is sufficient but we must accept responsibility for sin. We must own it. There are no excuses, “But God, I’m human and humans have needs, even private needs”. Don’t you think God knows that? But, God says our only need is to live under the power He has given us to overcome all sin, public or private, by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

Lord, thank you for grace and power to overcome all sin.

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