What is sin? The Bible, from cover to cover, explains it so well: sin is pictured diversely, as the muck in a dirty cup, as fiery arrows shot by the devil, as yeast in bread, but how about this for a picture: fleas. They crawl and lay their eggs, multiplying until they infest a pet or person’s hair; like that, sin finds itself a place in the heart, where feelings abide. It first plants itself in a mere thought, dormant and quiet. I hate my job. My husband doesn’t think I’m beautiful anymore. I wish my child was more obedient. Then like a flea egg, sin hatches, feeds, grows, and spreads.
The Bible actually does describe sinful people similarly in Isaiah 59:5, except as snakes and spiders, not fleas:
“They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.” (KJV)
If you have a sin infestation, there are certain behaviors you might notice about yourself. Below are 5 signs to spot:
Sign 1 – Do you justify yourself instead of apologize?
Have you ever had someone catch you doing a wrong, they’re mad at you, and you’re like, “Don’t overreact!” or “That’s not who I am most of the time…” Yes, you have reasons, it’s your life and no one can make your choices, but talking yourself out of dealing with the guilt isn’t good. Best remedy is to acknowledge what’s wrong, say sorry and try to do right.
Sign 2 – Are you secretive and avoid telling the truth?
Keeping a secret is not a sin by principle, but covering up the truth may be a sign of sin. For example, imagine a man texts his ex. They flirt, and he sends her a picture of his recent trip to Hawaii, without explaining he went there with another girl. Later his girlfriend asks how her friend’s friend knows about Hawaii and he plays dumb to spare the lecture… yeah. That’s when the fleas are biting. In those cases, being an open book is the right thing.
Sign 3 – Do you feel hypocritical in how you act?
It’s tough to be called a hypocrite, but it’s worse when you notice it yourself. An example is a preacher on Sunday, condemning divorcees to hell, when he himself has been divorced 3 times. At the end of his sermon, he smiles and mentions how the saints will be called to heaven, teasing an elderly woman for her seat on the heavenly train next to him. It’s not until he’s at home he realizes, “I’m a Pharisee.”
That’s spiritual fleas. The way to prevent the “double standard” problem is to live by God’s rules, not yours; refresh your knowledge of the Bible every day; and judge yourself before judging others.
Sign 4 – Has sin become habit, and a clean conscience not important?
Known as a numbed, or seared, conscience, a symptom of numbing is when you realize a guilty conscience is the lesser of two evils, the greater evil being life without sin. That means you will sin to stay satisfied and ignore the guilt. For example, imagine a woman has a hobby of reading romance novels. It’s indulgent, yes, but loneliness feels bad, she tells herself. The book leads her to sin, because she cannot stop reading when it comes to the graphic love affair. Afterwards, she feels guilty for reading it, but frankly, the reason of “Don’t read that, my conscience must stay clear” is not a convincing reason.
That’s why sin needs to be approached differently. A clean conscience should not be the reason, but rather, the reward, for not sinning. Piety cannot stop sin. Law has no power in the spiritual war. Love does, however. That’s why God created spouses, so a man or woman will not grow lonely, and He sent Jesus to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. But we should stay diligent in fighting the battle, otherwise, like fleas, sin will infest us and our hearts will soon begin to doubt, mock, deny, reject, and worse, even blaspheme God.
Sign 5 – Are you not able to have peace?
When peace can’t be had, and guilt stalks you, sin is somewhere nearby, but it might take detective work to find out where. For example, imagine a young, new defense attorney takes the case of a robber who stole from the store. The attorney decides, by suggestion of the thief, to steal the tape, edit the video, and remove the minutes where the thief enters the store and steals the item, gaining him the victory in court. It is a lawless and unethical way to win a case, but he doesn’t care.
Time goes by, he finds no peace within himself, and comes to the knowledge of God and believes. He finds it impossible to feel peace, but after learning about sin, realizes he must confess his sins. Robbing the store owner becomes the top of the list. Once right with God, peace flows.
That’s the opportunity we have in Jesus Christ. Faith, baptism, and prayer together make peace. God’s love is deep, far, wide, an ever-flowing fountain of peace. Ponder on it and it is yours.
Listen to my audio for more on fleas! #WorshipLog #PrayerPetition