“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.” John Steinbeck
The other night while my husband worked late, I sat in my bed flipping the channels mindlessly on the TV. I landed on a channel without noticing what it was, and then set the remote down to tend to one of my children.
I returned to hear a woman talking about her life as a swinger.
And yes, to be clear, we’re talking about the bed-sharing, wife-swapping variety.
Because I have always been a people watcher, (though admittedly not a fan of reality TV), I watched for a minute because the woman on screen couldn’t stop talking about how freeing it was to live this secret lifestyle.
I don’t know that I would ever pair the words freeing and secret together unless I was referring to the freedom I experience when I do not have to keep a secret.
The woman, talking to her primary partner, went on to describe how she loved “freeing herself” up in this way, to experience relations without relationship (my paraphrase) but that since she’d recently had a baby, she no longer felt attractive. The look of disappointment on her partner’s face was undeniable. He was ready to start swinging again, and she felt too round and unattractive for that kind of business.
She told him how uncomfortable she would feel next to another woman, one who hadn’t just given birth, she was afraid of being compared, of not measuring up–of not being enough.
Her eyes flashed and darted down, she seemed to have trouble looking directly at the camera. The camera cuts to footage of her working out, talking about how she’ll feel so much better when she looses the post pregnancy weight, she’ll be ready to get back to swinging then.
You know–because it’s so freeing.
This is one of the most powerful deceptions we face in life. I witnessed a woman enslaved by sin, deceived into believing that her secret lifestyle was freeing–and this makes sense, because this is exactly how sin works.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14 Esv
The enemy sells us half-baked truth that appears solid on the surface, but collapses to nothing when we begin to cut into it. Living enslaved to habitual sin is to live the most unsatisfying version of life. It appears to us, dressed up as freedom, success, power, beauty, influence, fame, wealth, and so on, and we whose pursuit is anything other than Jesus, cash in our lives for this illusion of freedom.
This sin is soul slavery that suffocates our faith and threatens spiritual death.
Sin promises solid gold, then swaps the gold for spray-painted tin, worth absolutely nothing. Less than nothing. It’s garbage.
Sin deceives. That’s what it does. That’s why the enemy is called the father of lies–because the truth is not in him.
I know this desert. I’ve wandered hot and hungry through the wastelands of habitual sin. I’ve gulped the lies down, confusing temporary satisfaction with real, lasting hope. I’ve fallen face first into the hot sand and gasped for breath, clinging tightly to my secrets, out of fear, and shame. And it was not freeing.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13
If you are living with a secret, that you think is making you free, I’d ask you–how do you define freedom?
Any freedom the world offers, that comes by way of living in opposition to God’s word is not freedom.
This is deception.
Keeping secrets doesn’t set us free. Keeping secrets is a form of enemy enslavement whose weapons are fear and shame. Secrets allow the enemy to bludgeon us with lies of rejection and failure.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:2
I know this struggle. We all do. None of us is immune to the temptation of deception.
Real freedom is found in Christ. In confession. In obedience to God’s ways.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23