One act of the flesh can lead to other acts of the flesh. Some acts overshadow others in contrast because man places emphasis on one while overlooking another. Rationalization sets in by using one act to outweigh a different one. It is a balancing act that is truly unequal. Sin is still sin. Just because one does not commit a certain sin, it does not mean the one he commits is not sin. At the same time, committing “the lesser offence” can lead to the “larger one.”
The problem lies with focusing on certain acts of the flesh. While one is actually working on behavior modification instead of true repentance, sin is still knocking at the door. When a person focuses on not committing a particular sin, he is still minding the flesh. If true change is going to take place, there has to be a true change in the way one thinks. Focusing on certain sins leads to blind spots and self-deception. Eventually, an avalanche of sin will overtake the unsuspecting victim.
“Minor offences” tend to snowball into larger offences, which include “the majors ones” that the individual has tried to avoid. One reason people fall into this trap is that they view sin from a worldly perspective. They fail to understand what true holiness is and how God views sin. It is a slight of hand that the flesh often uses. Meaning that it will try to get you to focus on one sin, so you will overlook another. Both the enemy and the old man use the same methodology: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (see Genesis 3:1-6; 1John 2:16). One trick they use is “overcoming” the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh by using the pride of life –behavior modification. The “victory” over these two is still steeped in pride. The person duped into employing this method winds up being pride-filled. Instead of crying out to God for mercy, he brags about how he is not like the others who commit such atrocities. The former is in a position to be forgiven and cleansed, while the latter still remains lost and unconverted. This ties in with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican … And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (KJV).
As long as people will mind the flesh, the flesh will have the upper hand. Our victory is in Christ Jesus alone, and everything pertaining to our being righteous before God rests solely in Him. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, KJV). There is nothing we can do to add or take away from what He did, which means victory is already ours. When we submit to the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (see Galatians 5:16). When we mind the things above, the things of the world have no power over us. We can stop trying to “be good,” and allow His goodness to dwell in us.