I am currently going through Jerry Bridges book study Respectable Sins. It has caused me to really think about the things in my own heart and life that have become acceptable. Much of it (I think) has to do with what is culturally acceptable for me.
The example I used was if I were Amish and I lived in that culture then my behavior would be very different because the expectations on me would be very different. The life of the Amish is very structure and confined. Living free in Christ in a decadent society gives me all the latitude I want to reveal the thoughts of my sinful heart as I expose them through my speech and actions.
I ask myself what makes certain things "OK" in my thought life? Is is because I think no one ever really sees these things? How can I so callously forget that the Sovereign God of the Universe is allways aware of what is on my heart (Psalm 139:4) before I am!
I meditate often on Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"
This speaks directly to this issue of respectable sins for me. I know better to say or believe that I am powerless to stop these respectable sins "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." 2 Peter 1:3. I have the ability to stop these things (and so do you), I know they are wrong (and so do you) and yet I continue to act as though I am a slave to them, that I am controlled by my sinful lusts and desires, as though they still own me!
What does this say about the power of Christ in me if this is the case? It says that the power of Christ is not sufficient, and that is a lie from the pit of hell. If is not the case, if the power of Christ in me is not enough for me to overcome sins like lying, swearing, gossiping, coveting, impure thoughts, cheating, anger, selfishness, laziness, slandering, immorality, idolatry, and any other sin you can think of then what is?! To say He is not enough, and that His power is not enough makes Christ a fool and a liar! He is either enough, or He isn't and if you believe (and I believe) He is enough then we ought to start living like it!
I must stop making excuses for why I do what I do, stop calling SIN nullifying words like "mistakes" and "whoopses" and "goofs." Stop rationalizing and justifying my sin by blame shifting the reasons for it onto another person or event.
I have to come to grips in my heart that I sin because even after over 20 years of this walk, I am still an idolater...I still worship me... and somewhere in my heart (actually right out there on the altar of my heart) is a mini-me that I worship constantly. It disgusts me at the moment, and I have to hang on to that disgust. The disgust is a blessing because it reminds me of the cost that was paid for me. I am a very valuable commodity in this Kingdom! NOT because I am worth or worthy of anything on my own, but because another gave His life for me. I cost Him everything- everything! I cost Him His very life, breath, and blood.
With this in mind, I go forward. Determined not to remain in this place. "... forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14