As Christians we often find ourselves like Paul in Romans 7—wanting to do right and finding it sometimes difficult to do. We struggle and struggle, but it often feels like “3 steps forward, 2 steps back”. Despite our earnest desire to do right, we don’t; and as we go to the Lord in repentance for forgiveness, we can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with us.
The Scriptures teach us that it is a matter of what’s going on inside: our thoughts, our ideas, our fears, our urges, our pride, our anger—all the stuff going on inside of us that we often don’t pay close enough attention to.
And it is the very reason why Jesus spends so much time in the Sermon on the Mount talking about the internal issues of anger, lust, intentions, love, greed, revenge, pride, materialism, and worry. They are all internal, heart issues that are at the root of our sin.
And it’s why the book of Proverbs tell us, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23, NAS95. Watch over your heart with all diligence—pay steady, unwavering attention; because these thoughts—good or bad—will become actions.
A deacon called on frequently to pray at prayer meeting always concluded his prayer, “And now, Lord, clean all the cobwebs out of our lives.”
Everyone knew what he was talking about, a request for the Lord to forgive all the little sinful words, attitudes, and deeds, that we all let accumulate in our lives.
But finally, it got to be too much for one of the brethren, who had heard him say that prayer so often. And one Wednesday night, just after hearing those words again, he jumped to his feet and shouted, “Don’t do it, Lord. Kill the spider!”
The brother had a point. If we kill the spider, the cobwebs go away. If we kill the sinful thoughts, the sinful words, attitudes, and deeds won’t come back, either.