March 17, 2004

Encouragement for Today


Confession is Good for the Soul
Mary Southerland, Speaker, Author and Director with Proverbs 31 Ministries

Key Verse:
 
1 John 1:9 ~~ If we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right.  He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.  (NCV)
 

Devotion:

 

When I was a little girl I hated wearing shoes. As a matter of fact, I still hate wearing shoes. But during childhood I looked forward to the first day of summer because it meant two things.  First, I did not have to attend school and second, I did not have to wear shoes unless I wanted to.  Every morning I ran outside to play with friends, leaving shoes and socks behind. 
 
Those first few days of summer were always a painful shock to my tender feet because the "playground" was a gravel road running beside our house on the edge of town.  At the end of each day my feet would be grimy and filthy, often bruised and sometimes slightly bloody.  Even now I can remember the pain those razor-sharp rocks inflicted every June.  But I knew that within a couple of weeks, my feet would grow callused and tough.  It would not be long before running down that gravel road didn't hurt at all - the pain of the early summer days a distant memory. 
 
Sin works the same way.  The first time we commit a sin it really bothers us.  We feel guilty and mourn the fact that we have grieved the heart of God.  If we allow sin to settle into our lives, refusing to confess it, that sin hardens our heart and builds spiritual calluses in our soul.  When we become comfortable with our sin we are walking in enemy territory and setting ourselves up for spiritual discouragement and failure.
 
1 John 1:9  But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right.  He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.  (NCV)
 
This verse was written to believers as an encouragement to deal with sin and a promise that when we do so, God will be faithful to forgive us and clean up the mess that sin has caused.  We are not perfect - just forgiven.  To experience that forgiveness fully we need to keep short books on sin.  That means being sensitive to sin and immediately choosing to do something about it.
 
God is serious about sin.  We need to be as well.

 

1.  We must confess sin continually.   "Confess" means to agree with.  It is a present tense verb meaning that we must confess sin frequently, without stopping. 
 
2.  We must confess sin completely.  We commit sins one by one.  We need to confess them one by one as well.
 
3.  We must confess our sin confidently.  Once we confess sin we can put it behind us.  God is just and fair - seeking only one payment for sin.  Jesus has already made full and complete payment with His death on the cross. 
 
One of Satan's favorite tactics is to resurrect buried sin. Wrapping that confessed transgression in his vain taunts and useless accusations, the enemy hauls it back into focus, hoping that guilt will paralyze and imprison a soul set free. Impossible - without our permission! But how often do we believe his empty lies - and by doing so, grant him access to that which he has no right?  To break the hold of sin, we can and must stand against the enemy, trusting not in our feelings but in the facts of God's word. And those facts are unchanging and crystal clear - when we confess sin, God forgives it. 
 

My prayer for today: 

 

Father, do not let me ever forget the price you paid for my sin. Thank you for the forgiveness and freedom you purchased with your death on the cross. Bring swift awareness and conviction when I sin. Give me the strength and power to deal with and turn from the sin in my life. For your glory and in your name I pray. Amen!
 

Application steps
 
Set aside time each day to pray and study His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of every sin that stands between you and God. Confess that sin. Choose against it and walk on in His power and forgiveness.
 

Reflection points:
 
What sin do I need to confess right now?
 
Why have I held on to this sin?
 
What effect has this sin had on my life?
 
What changes do I need to make in order to "turn" from my sin?
 
Do I really believe that God can and will forgive this sin?  Why?  Why not?
 
Power verses:
 
Psalm 32:5 Then I confessed my sins to you and didn't hide my guilt.  I said, "I will confess my sins to the LORD," and you forgave my guilt.  (NCV)
 
James 4:7 Give yourselves completely to God.  Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.  (NCV)
 
Psalm 66:18 If I had known of any sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to me.  (ICB)
 
Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.  (NIV)
 
Psalm 103:12 He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.  (NCV)
 
Proverbs 28:13 If you hide your sins, you will not succeed.  If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.  (NCV)
 

Additional resources:

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html
 
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/magazine/index.html
 
How to Live a Life of Victory by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/victoryset.html