Sin comes at us in several different ways and how we should react is different based on how it comes. These ways are: in ourselves, in the world, and in fellow believers. Each one brings its own challenges and difficulties and must be handled in different ways.
The first way that we need to face sin is in ourselves. It can be in our hearts and focus and it can cause us to bring distraction to our relationship with God and harm to our relationships with others. It’s bad news and it has to be dealt with. Jesus gives us the intensity of how we should be dealing with it in Matthew 18 “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.” (v. 18). Personally, I don’t read this as an invitation to self-harm, although there have been many in history that have used this verse that way, unfortunately. Instead, it’s setting a passion level that shows full commitment to obedience to the Lord and His commands.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23 ESV
Proverbs tells us that we should watch our heart because the flow of our life, the springs of our life come out of that source. If we are seeing sin in our choices, words, or actions, we need to stop and see where in our heart the issue is coming from. When you see something is wrong, are you willing to give it up no matter how much it hurts? This is the question we have to ask in order to be able to deal with sin our own heart.
This idea is root of the message that Jesus gives in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” We can’t see clearly how to help and love others if we’re not honest and passionate about dealing with sin in ourselves.
God wants us to be committed to Him and to choose to obey His commandments. After all, our salvation is a free gift; our response to that gift is to live in such a way that we show our belief in Him and our love for Him and each other. How we responds to the sin that’s revealed in our life shows where our hearts truly are. Are we committed to Him that we will remove sin no matter the cost? Are we willing to stop judging others and look at ourselves only when we talk about living right?
I am truly and fully convinced that all the pleasures and gain that we sacrifice in this life will be worth it when we meet Christ. In addition, removing our sin is often form of protection for this life as well. Double bonus! If this is an area that you find yourself lethargic about, consider praying that God will give you a love of living only for Him and the strength to face whatever needs to be removed in your life.