The Discipline of Confession
We will begin to breakdown the four pieces of corporate (things we do together) disciplines.
Scripture views salvation as both an event and a process, meaning it's an ongoing participation:
-Philippians 2:12- Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
-1 Cor. 1:18- For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (Notice it does not say, those who are saved... the idea being conveyed here is a continuous process)
-2 Cor. 2:15- For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
Part of this experience of “being saved”, is the need for us to walk in the light. 1 John 1:6-10- If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
James 4:7 God tells us to submit ourselves to Him. And, God tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you. Confession, in my opinion, not only is submitting ourselves to God, since God has instructed us to be confessional in our life, but it's also a part of resisting Satan. Satan has a foothold on our ability to resist into sin, when he knows he can keep us in the dark with our lives and not be open. Sort of like thinking, "Oh well, I have failed already, what's the point of resisting now?"
Confession is where we remove the power of darkness and stay in the light. Confession is liberating, not shaming.
Confession is a biblical command... James 5:16-Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Each of us plays a role in helping each other with inner transformation... John 20:23-If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
Ultimately, we understand only Christ forgives sin... 1 Timothy 2:5-For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus...
Confession is an important component of spiritual discovery... tell the truth!
Living in darkness is holding secrets, feeling that hypocrisy of the dual life where we hold on to the lies of the great accuser, Satan. Satan wants you to hide, stuff, insulate, be secretive.
When we listen to Satan, we suffer. Listen to the Psalmist in 107:10-16:
Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.
Failing to confess is one possible source for the birth of depression in our lives, Psalm 32:1-5:
Blessed (content, or happy) is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Depression has a physical manifestation in our lives. We only "discovered" that through the study of psychology and other human sciences maybe 50 years or so ago. God has been telling us that for over 3,000 years.
Why is the discipline of confession to another a really good thing?
· Confession is not about self-condemnation... but freedom
· Confession is regularly practiced and keeps us yoked to the to lightest burden… Jesus
· Confession is specific... name it
· It begins with sorrow, ends with joy and a determination to flee from sin
· Brings an end to pretense which no one likes to bear
· Sets our life and our hearts free. No more shame... blows away limitations we place on ourselves
· Recognition that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory, and we share in each other’s humanity and the struggle with the flesh... nobody has a unique experience. 1 Corinthians 10:13- No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
· Confess even when you are tempted
· Allows each of us to grow in the image of Christ. Recipients of confession get to practice what they need all the time... GRACE and MERCY. Check out Romans 15:14!
How do we handle someone confessing to us?
· Maturity-as recipients of someone sharing with you, handle it with maturity
· Confidentiality-this is of upmost importance, and while true most of the time, be aware of that occasion where perhaps helping the one confessing see the need for getting others involved
· Listening, understanding, inquiring... Be ask assertive vs tell assertive… what do you think led you to...
· Don't think you always need to be corrective. Sometimes the best thing to do is just listen
· Confession time with others should always include prayer
· May necessitate follow up... hey how’s it going with...
· It’s why the other disciplines are so important for all of us
· We are all priests in the kingdom... 1 Peter 2:9
When was the last time you shared confessionally?
Remember your lessons from Spiritual Discovery and think how confession plays such a huge part of owning your rescue story.
To break free from darkness, move toward God:
· Stop and consider-What am I feeling
· Recognize your spiritual battle-How is Satan tempting you
· Tell the truth-Tell yourself, God and a trusted friend
· Look for a lie-What do you believe
· Ask, seek and knock-For wisdom, insight and truth
· Find peace in forgiveness-Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive others
· Own your rescue story-Live in the truth… Confession
Still to come: