“”The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord … and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth… While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.'” “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” “Jesus knew all people…he himself knew what was in man.” Genesis 6:5; 8:20-22; Jeremiah 17:9; John 2:24-25
A friend recently told me of a 30-page inspection report on a house they had considered, rendering it a hodgepodge of out-of-code fixes, alterations, and problems. Who would have known from its inviting charm? I know of another that was over 90 pages, a detailed MRI of everything wrong with a seemingly polished, well-maintained home. We had a neighbor whose house was struck by lightning, and afterwards stood serene and lovely from the exterior, but was charred on the inside, like a body ravaged with a strangling disease. It is easy to hide the wicked in our hearts.
God, Who made man to know and glorify Him, knew when Adam fell, and invited him to fess up in the garden; Adam and Eve had hid themselves. Isaac questioned Jacob when he suspected deceit, but Jacob lied behind fragrant food and hairy gloves. David spent months covering up his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, until the prophet Nathan exposed him. Jesus invited people to admit their sin, and uncovered the greed and self-indulgence behind “clean” appearance, knowing only the truth would set them free. (Genesis 3:8-10; 27:14-23; 2 Samuel 11:1-12:14; Matthew 23:25; John 4:16-18; 8:32)
How prone we are to putting on in public what betrays our private selves, to glossing our exteriors so we don’t have to face the scrutiny of others, to donning a front to hide our shame. The more we practice this deception, the more we believe it- as one observing, not living, our life. It is the enemy’s way to convince us of the lies that hidden sin ‘doesn’t count,’ that virtual sin isn’t real, that as long as we aren’t caught or as bad as someone else, we are OK, that if we were exposed we could never recover. But God is concerned with what lies under the surface, and pursues our interiors in measureless love. In grace, He will make us miserable until we are honest, because He is in the business of washing away our sin and restoring our fellowship with Him and others. On the cross, He bought us freedom from what binds us, and that gives new identity. Why would we not choose to come clean to this merciful Redeemer? What pride or fear is more compelling than His promise to forgive and power to make new? (Psalm 32:1-5; Isaiah 1:18; 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Lord, You know all, and love me in spite of that all. I open my deepest parts for Your daily inspection and cleansing. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me! Convict, cleanse. I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For You have clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. May I live without guile or pretension, hiding behind nothing but Your glorious dress, adorned in the light of Your amazing grace. (Psalm 139:23-24; Isa 61:10)