Monday, July 21, 2008

True Confession Part 2

. . . for we have made a lie our refuge
and falsehood our hiding place.
Isaiah 28:15
Since confession is agreeing with God that we are not living or thinking right, I get the feeling God desires us to get to the root of our problems. Most of us don't set out in the morning saying, I am going to sin today, so searching for the reason we do the things we do will help us find the solution to our dilemma. The verse above reveals one of the main reasons we mess up. When we believe lies they become our refuge and hiding place in place our loving God.
Let me explain. Since the beginning of time Satan has tried to convince us that our worth is dependent on what we do and what other people think about us. Satan's lie has a ripple affect on our lives and messes up our thinking. This false belief convinces us that:
1. We must meet certain standards to feel good about ourselves (this leads to fear of failure, perfectionism).
2. We must be approved by certain others to feel good about ourselves, otherwise know as the performance trap (this leads to fear of rejection and attempts to please others at any cost).
3. Those who fail (including ourselves) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished, otherwise known as the blame game (this leads to fear of punishment and propensity to punish others).
4. We are hopeless and incapable of change (this leads to feelings of shame and hopelessness).
This totally wrong belief system holds within it the root of most of our problems as Christians and ultimately leads us into withdrawal from the genuine living God intends and loving others (even ourselves).
God counteracts these lies with his truth-Our worth equals what God says about us. What does God say about us?
1. He says that we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1-2). This makes us completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. We no longer have to fear failure, manipulate others or strive for perfection.
2. He says that we are reconciled by Christ's physical body through death to present us holy in his sight, without blemish and free of accusation (Colossians 1:21-22). We no longer have fear rejection or please others at any cost.
3. He says that he loves us so much that he made atonement for our sin (I John 4:9-10). We no longer have to fear punishment or punish others.
4. He says that we are brand new, changed forever and complete in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We no longer have to experience the pain of shame.
When we think about why we do the things we do and agree with (confess to) God when we have done them, He will then teach us how to exchange lies for his truth. This great exchange brings liberty and godly richness into our lives. Praise the LORD! Let freedom ring!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Listening Heart Learns About True Confession

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
so that we may offer you our praises.
Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.”
Hosea 14:1-3
Confession means to agree with. This tells us that with God, confession cannot mean making a comprehensive list of our sins and reading them off to him, the way we usually think it should be done. Confession must mean then that we are to agree with God about a certain sin his Holy Spirit has convicted us about. The verses from Hosea above show that we agree with God in three simple ways: 1) Agreeing with God (our sins have brought us down) 2) Claiming his forgiveness (forgive our sins and graciously receive us) 3) Turning to God--repentance (Assyria cannot save us . . . never again will we say to the idols we have made, 'You are our gods')

In my reading and studies, I have been profoundly affected by the book, The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth through God's Eyes by Robert S. McGee. I'm not the only one. Billy Graham said that every Christian should read this book. Mr. McGee describes confession best, he wrote:

Confession does not make us forgiven. We have forgiveness because Christ
died to pay for our sins. Confession is a means for us to experience our
forgiveness, not a means to obtain it. Confession should be done with
an attitude of repentance, which involves turning away from sin and
turning to God. Repentance is not a matter of feeling sorry just because
we got caught. True Confession causes us to reject sin because it grieves
the Lord. Confession enables us to experience our forgiveness and enjoy
our fellowship with God.
In turn agreeing with God can look like this--Turning to the LORD and taking with us words along these lines:
Lord, You are the Potter, I am the clay. I sinned when I ________________. I understand that I am completely forgiven through your precious Son's death on the cross. From your word I know and agree with you that I am deeply loved, complete, accepted and pleasing to you, even though I don't act like it sometimes. I now choose to act like the child of the King that I am. I will turn away from falsehood and turn towards the truth for you are the way and the truth and the life. I will honor your holy name by ______________________.