Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened
This little verse in an anonymous Psalm expresses an important truth. Everyone sins, but how we respond to those sins, our attitude toward them, makes a huge difference. We are all too prone to revel in sin, to “lick our lips” over it, so to speak. I think that cuts us off from God worse than the act itself. The Bible deals a lot with heart attitudes. David messed up big time, but his heart attitude was such that when what he had done was pointed out to him, he repented in truth and made no attempt to defend himself. (Psalm 51) In contrast, we sometimes delight in much lesser sins, not realizing that our delight walls us off from God. Hanging on to unforgiveness, for example, keeps us from receiving God’s forgiveness, (Matthew 6:14-15) and even ridiculing others puts us in danger of the fires of hell. (Matthew 5:22) How many people court that danger unwittingly? As David recognized, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) Heart attitude is everything.
I’ve been on all sides of this issue more times than I could keep track of. I’m grateful to say that at this point I believe I am far more humble before God than I have been in the past, recognizing the magnificence of His grace toward me. I can look back and see countless times that I toyed with temptation, reveling in it, so to speak, even when I didn’t follow through in physical action. If I had been God, I probably would have squashed me then and there! However, God is indeed working in me both to will and to do His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:13) and it gives me peace and joy to see that happening. This principle of heart attitude can be difficult to get across to others if they aren’t spiritually sensitive, so I’ve got to keep praying and depending on the Holy Spirit. He alone can get past the lying barriers the devil sets up to try to keep people from knowing the truth that will set them free. (John 8:32)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the man You brought here yesterday and for what You did in him during that time. I pray that Your words through me would indeed penetrate and stay with him, setting him free indeed. He is very aware that he is currently far from You. Help him realize that all he has to do is turn around, and You are right there. He is getting a taste of hell on earth. Help him repent and believe so that he may receive heaven, on earth and for eternity, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!