“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!“ – Psalm 139:23-24
In the Pray First – a Personal Prayer Guide there is a section entitled Confession and Cleaning – Present Your Heart To God. That is the subject of this devotional.
Imagine yourself in the crowd in the story in Luke 5. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Man, your sins are forgiven you!”
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” the Pharisees teachers of the law exclaimed among themselves. Jesus knew what they were thinking, and He replied, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” This is one of many examples of God’s willingness to forgive.
To be forgiven, we must first confess our sins. Confession of sin is a Biblical mandate. We all sin and as a result we need to acknowledge to God that we have sinned, turn away from our sin, and seek His grace. If we do so, He has promised to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). There are no other Biblical conditions to God’s forgiveness.
As D.L. Moody used to say, “We have to be emptied before we can be filled.” By confessing your sin, you act on your faith in God and His Word. Confession does not give you more forgiveness. Christ has already forgiven you once and for all. But by admitting your sins, you establish in your experience what God has done for you through the death of His Son.
When the heart is not right with God we fail to see sin in its proper light. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)
Over the next 6 days, confess your sins and your need for God. Ask God to forgive you for trying to figure everything out on our own, for not trusting that He is more than able and powerful to work on our behalf. Ask God to give you the ability to trust Him more, give you a heart that finds rest in His presence, remembering it’s only to be found in Jesus Christ.
Thank God this week for peace of mind that His loving and strong presence guards and protects our hearts and minds. Thank God for sending His son to save us and freeing us from sin.
- How would you say sin affects you? In what ways does it hold power over you?
- If we do not confess to God, what does that reveal about our attitude toward sin? Toward God? Toward ourselves?
- Read Lamentations 3:16-24: What does the writer’s description indicate about God’s character? How is our hope in God related to the humble view of ourselves as helpless sinners before Him?