Daily Devotionals

Secret Sin

by Daniel Bramlett

The words “clean hands and pure heart” gripped my mind this morning. Are my hands clean? Is my heart pure? David writes these words in Psalm 24 right after the famous lines about the Lord being our Shepherd. He leaves that gentle scene to talk about who can be with God. The conclusion is only the one who has clean hands and a pure heart. He adds to that, the one who “does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” These words ripped me.

I’ve been preaching sexual ethics for a month now. I’ve shared with you some of my findings. I’m still sick thinking about the twisted world we live in. But the challenge is always allowing the Spirit of God to open up my own heart and unveil the twisted reality that has found its home there. Compared with seeing our own sin, dealing with the world, no matter the depth and depravity, is easier by far.

We like to keep things at arm’s reach. We come by this approach naturally. We can look at a bad picture, hear an off-color conversation, watch a bloody scene unfold and quickly come to the conclusion that we could have done it better; we could have prevented the ugliness given the chance. We would never have led that way, made those decisions…we are just better people. We work hard enough convincing ourselves of this reality that we end up never confronting our own sin, let alone allowing the people around us to convince us we are wrong.

Only those with clean hands and a pure heart will be allowed to approach the Lord. Are you willing to consider the cleanness of your hands? Is it possible that dirt may have found its way there and you not know it? Are you willing to see the impurity in your own heart? Is it possible trash has wormed its way in without your knowing?

We are drawn to people like us. We excuse their mistakes and they excuse ours. We are also critical of people who are not like us. It’s easy for us to pick apart the things they do that seem obviously wrong to us. We do this all the time in the political, church, business and social arenas. If change is going to happen in any of those places, we are going to have to get over ourselves and invest in the lives of those around us, regardless of our disagreements. But our topic here goes much deeper than blue and red politics or good business practices. We are talking about a pure heart and clean hands. These things don’t appear on accident. And we certainly don’t find them by ignoring or arguing against those who know us best.

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Dirty hands and a crowded heart will most definitely lead us to lift up our souls to false things. The longer we ignore our sin, the more corrupted our souls will become.

The number one sign of a problem is when we refuse to recognize a problem. I’ve been with addicts more times than I can remember and listened to them say “I don’t have a problem.” They say it with all their teeth missing, while twitching either coming down from a high or needing another one, and refusing to look me in the eye. I know there’s a problem. Everyone else in their life knows there’s a problem. But they can’t see it. I’ve been with people up to their eyeballs in credit card debt and heard them say “I don’t have a problem. It’s just a phase.” We tell ourselves we can control it; it will never control us. We tell ourselves our hands are clean and our hearts are pure. But they aren’t. I can promise you they aren’t.

What happens next is up to you. As for me, I lay my hands on the table. I choose to expose my heart. I do not want to end my days with hidden sin still leading the way. I want those closest to me to have a full view of my inner life. When they tell me something hard, I instinctively want to recoil: “I don’t have a problem!” But I know the likelihood is strong. So, I submit to them and to the Lord.

What will you do? Will you consider the possibility of being dirty? I can guarantee you it is there. John tells us that the man who says he is without sin is a liar. In this sexually saturated world, I can almost promise you that there is something there you aren’t aware of, maybe a lot of things. What I would encourage you to do is to stop looking at the world with critical eyes. Stop saying what you’d fix and where everyone else has gone wrong and start looking at the parts of you that no one else sees. Give God the green light to begin changing the state of your hands and heart. Trust that He will rescue your soul from the things we hate.

Do you trust God enough to give Him your secrets? Do you want to stand before Him one day clean and ready for worship? We all need a bath. Will you let Him start the process today?

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