When food in your fridge goes bad, you know it the moment you open the door. And your life is like that. When there is something wrong inside, the people who come in contact with you often sense it. Jesus spoke some of His harshest words to Peter: ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are… not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’ (Matthew 16:23 NKJV) What was Peter’s sin? Pride. He openly contradicted Jesus (see Matthew 16:22).
There are sins of the spirit and sins of the flesh. Peter’s was a sin of the spirit. David’s actions of adultery and murder were sins of the flesh. Later David wrote, ‘Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.’ (Psalm 19:12–13 NKJV) Now, God doesn’t want you to become self-absorbed and introspective to the point where you live in condemnation. But He does want you to be sensitive to sin and deal with it immediately.
Scripture gives us three ways to stay clean in a spiritually polluted world:
(1) Walking in the light (see 1 John 1:7). That means striving to be honest before God and man.
(2) Being accountable. That can mean having someone in your life who is mature enough to deserve your confidence, gracious enough to put up with your inconsistencies, and honest enough to confront you (see Ecclesiastes 4:9).
(3) Dealing with your sin right away (see Psalm 32:3–5). The moment that brings consciousness of sin should lead to confession of sin resulting in cleansing of sin. Then you must get back up and go on with God!