I was studying the very beginning of 1John this week – because I am so disciplined and so deeply in love with God’s word that I randomly began an exhaustive study of it – just because. (Actually, I joined a ladies Bible study at my church because without a leader to check off my homework, God’s word would be seriously neglected in my life.)
So…WOW! 1 John is pretty great. I was very convicted about the nature of confession in my life these days. Honestly, instead of confessing specific sins, I usually just allow myself to feel guilty, worthless, and totally incompetent and irrelevant for a few weeks. Then I cry out to the Lord for mercy in a very general sense.
I’ve been convicted about this before, and even by this same passage, which has led to a kind of confession like I mentioned in the title. “Look God! I confessed my sins! See? Now, because I did that, now my sins are forgiven.” This type of confession completely glosses over the fact that it’s only by Christ’s death on the cross that forgiveness is available. It’s as if my confession grants me my forgiveness. Uh, that doesn’t sound quite right does it?
So back to confession. Confession leads to fellowship with God. How does this occur. I think I get that now. Real confession, which requires an acknowledgement of my darkness and deeds done in darkness gives me an appreciation for my need for Christ. Thinking on the vehicle by which I am granted forgiveness, that is Christ’s death, humbles me. Receiving the gift of forgiveness brings me joy and deep gratitude. And turning from that sin, which is usually so, so, hard, removes the self-sufficient spirit that led to the sin in the first place. This forces me to rely on God, which means I go to him, pray to Him call out to Him, which is part of this mysterious fellowship.
What did you just say Jess??
OK – here’s a good example. Sometimes, someone in this house yells at their children. Instead of just feeling like a loser, her/she – who am I kidding – SHE really needs to confess her sinful, angry, heart and the specific words and context in which that heart was displayed. Then she needs to take a minute to recognize that she is she and He is He and His death for her was a pretty huge deal. Then she needs to embrace forgiveness, release guilt. Then she needs to commit to the deconstruction of that angry heart and it’s products, including yelling at the kids. This will overwhelm her even as she writes down the very practical steps…
1. Memorize anger verses.
2. Pray when you begin to get angry.
3. Don’t yell.
She will know – she can’t do it. She will then beg God for His help and seek Him wholeheartedly for His grace and strength.
This will be good.