"For we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] devices."1
Satan, our arch enemy, is the father of lies—a liar from the beginning. His most effective device is to keep us in denial—to keep us from seeing the truth about God, ourselves, the plan of salvation, and above all, about himself and the nature and effects of sin.
To give us a clearer picture and understanding of sin the Bible uses three different words or attributes to describe sin's various facets.
First, transgression—which means to rebel against and/or ignore God's laws, to make up our own rules, and go our own sinful way.
Second, iniquity—which is the expression of our sinful nature. For instance, a person is not a sinner because he sins, but rather, he sins because he is a sinner.
Third, missing the mark. As the Bible teaches, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard] of God."2 God's mark is perfection which means completeness, wholeness, and maturity. Therefore, anything in my life that falls short of these is sin. This would include failing to face and resolve hurts from the past, my secret sins, sins of resentment, pride, anger, bitterness, denial, my failing to resolve my areas of immaturity, and so on. It also includes sins of omission; that is failing to do things we know that we should and need to do, such has helping a neighbor who reaches out to me for help.
Once we understand the nature of sin and Satan's devices, with deep honesty and God's help, we are free to work on overcoming the sins and problems that so easily beset us.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the courage to face my total 'dark side' and every secret and known sin so I can bring these areas of my life to you for your healing and recovery. And please help me to always live in harmony with your Word and your will. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)
2. Romans 3:23