I remember the first time I noticed sin in my children. It was at about 8 months old. That moment after telling them not to do something…they look both ways…and then do it anyway.
Disobedience is rooted inside all of us. We are born with it. And at birth we begin a long process of slow sanctification.
It starts with slaps on the hand when we want to touch breakable or dangerous things. Then on to more serious discipline over lying, stealing, gossiping or attitude problems. We are tempted with sin of all kinds and fall into them without full knowledge of the bondage. And sometimes we are well aware of the danger and evil it represents but do it anyway. That is of course, until we get caught or think no one is watching.
I see this happen in my children. Watching them learn and grow is like a microcosm of how the human experience works.
In my presence they act out here and there (it’s a discipline heavy season), but for the most part they know there boundaries because they know without a doubt what I have deemed right for them to do. However when they think they are alone, things change. You know the saying…when the cats away the mice will play? When my kids are unaware of my disguised watching, the boy will hit the girl, the girl will touch breakable things and together they become mischievous little rule breakers.
But isn’t this kind of the way we all are? At work, at church, with family and friends we are Christians in every sense of the word. We tithe dutifully, we speak with kindness, we smile and say life is good. And yet most of us would be embarrassed to have the congregation watch without our knowledge at the way we are behind the safe doors of our home.
What if your pastor could look at your computer history? Or the kind of TV shows you watch? What if the elder board peered in on the way you speak to your spouse during an argument? Or the way you discipline the kids in a moment of frustration?
As the Sunday School song says…Oh, be careful little eyes what you see…Oh be careful little feet where you go…Oh, be careful little ears what you hear…
Truth is we are always being watched.
For the father up above is looking down in love…Oh, be careful little eyes what you see!
We have relentless eyes on us at all times even in our darkest moments. The only difference is this watcher is sinless and Holy. And yet somehow we are willing to do all manner of sinful things in His presence. And I believe it is because we do not fear Him.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. ~ Psalm 2:11
Sin left to its own devices is a dangerous thing. And it is only done by the man who has no fear of a Holy and Just God. Obedience to Him comes from the fear of Him. And obedience will bring joy.
There are practical ways to not leave our sin to its one devices, such as being accountable to a small group of people, confessing sin and being in the habit of daily repentance. But none of those things will become integral to life unless we fear the living God. Fear Him in reverent love.
The Christian walk is a journey, and we are gospel people with the hope of Heaven given to us by Jesus’s sacrificial love. He is a good God who always does what is right. And He could strike us down like He did to Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) and be Just in doing so. We certainly deserve it. But He doesn’t. That thought alone should bring us to fearful thankfulness.
So serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling!