You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.. you perceive my thoughts..Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:1,2,7 NIV)
…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (I Samuel 16:7 NIV)
Do your thoughts betray your sinful heart?
Mine do. Recently, something good happened to a friend of mine and although I was happy for her, I suddenly felt a rush of envy. My thoughts revealed the fact I coveted her good fortune.
The crazy thing is, God has blessed me so richly!
Truly, my cup overflows with his extravagant love. He is so good to me. Why then, does my heart sin against Him?
I came across this definition for sin –
Sin is our rebellious acts of ingratitude toward a perfect, good, and sovereign God who has given us life… *
James says, we covet because we cannot get what we want. When we ask God and don’t receive what we want, it’s because we ask with wrong motives – for selfish pleasures. James goes on to say, our desires reveal our love for the world (those things which bring us recognition, physical pleasure, and personal glory – 1 John 2:16) and enmity toward God. (James 4:1-4 NIV)
Does that mean God doesn’t want us to have pleasure? NO!
God created us and the things which bring us pleasure. But he says, we receive all good gifts from his hand. (James 1:7) By seeking him first, he will provide all we truly desire. (Matthew 6:33)
The problem is, sometimes I just don’t trust God. I think I know better. I look for shortcuts – make things happen. These means are rarely satisfying, and if they do bring any pleasure, it’s short-lived. The worst part is, I often hurt others in the process.
The solution to my problem of sin – and yours – can be found in God’s word (the Bible)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9 NIV)
Submit yourselves, then, to God… Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7,8,10 NIV)
- Therefore, I confess to you, as I confessed to God in prayer. I’m ashamed and mourn the fact I displeased my Father in heaven by coveting my friend’s circumstances.
- I draw near to God. I thank him for his patient love.
- I submit my desires to him. I ask the Lord to create in me a pure heart and to renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)
- Finally, I recognize my desperate need for sanctification by God’s able hand. I want him to transform my heart to align with his own. I sincerely pray for God’s will to be done – not mine. (Romans 12:2)
Humbling myself in this way, God will enable me to sincerely
Rejoice with those who rejoice! (Romans 12:15 NIV)
*Basso, Shannon. “God’s Story of Sacrifice.” Becoming: As Christ Is Formed In Us, 2016, pp. 103–104.