All people sin. What marks an authentic Christian is how they deal with their sin. One test is, do you treat your sin like a welcomed guest or like an unwanted intruder? When either shows up at your house, you respond very differently. And that makes all the difference.
A Welcomed Guest
When a welcomed guest arrives at your home, you open the door, you invite them in, you make them feel comfortable and at home. You feed them, entertain them, and give them a place to stay at night. You make their stay as enjoyable as possible. Now sin is a very particular houseguest. It has very specific conditions that it requires. It demands darkness, isolation, and a regular diet of deceit. When sin shows up in your life, it wants more than anything to be kept in the dark, left alone, and sustained with lies. Think about that sin in your life right now that has seemed to take residence in your heart. What does it want? It wants to be left alone, kept a secret, in the dark, undisturbed by the light of God’s word, God’s truth, or God’s people. When we’re committed to our sin, we despise the light.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)
In 1 John, the Apostle describes this response to sin as “walking in darkness.” We make peace with our sin. We tolerate it, manage it, maintain it, and worse welcome it into our lives. John’s verdict is that if this describes us, we’re counterfeits.
An Unwanted Intruder
On the other hand, when an unwanted intruder shows up to your house, you respond very differently. You don’t open the door. You don’t invite them in or make them feel comfortable. You bust out the shotgun. You get rid of this threat before it gets rid of you. Authentic Christians treat sin like an unwanted intruder. They take the threat of sin seriously. In order to thrive, sin needs darkness, isolation, and deceit. So kill it by exposing it to the light, living and confessing in community, and feeding it truth. Picture your sin, shrieking loudly as you throw open the doors and allow the light of God’s word, God’s truth, and God’s people to flood in. Expose your sin today. Confess it to a brother or sister in Christ. Pour truth on it like salt on a snail and watch it shrivel up and die. Jesus Christ died to set you free from the power of sin. He was killed for you so that sin might be killed in you. Sin does not have dominion over you anymore and it cannot rule or reign over your life.
So treat the Holy Spirit like a welcomed guest and sin like an unwanted intruder.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)