I am a person who actually likes confession. I realize my need for sisters-in-Christ to be in prayer for me in this area, that overcoming sin is not something the Lord meant for us to do by ourselves. This hasn’t always been the case, however. Not too long ago, I was desperately attempting to hide my sin deep down, in hopes that it would never come to light.
I knew my sins well, and I knew that if people found them out, the image of who they thought I was would shatter. I was very afraid that people would figure out who I “really” was. I’m talking crippling, don’t even want to talk to people fear of even friends and family knowing the real me.
This was not from the Lord. First of all, I was not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Second of all, the Lord showed me that this was actually a sin problem that was causing me to hide my sin problem. What Lord?! This isn’t just an attack from the enemy that I’m completely innocent and blameless in?!
Mmhmm. Over the last few months, God has opened my heart to finding freedom in confession. I attend an amazing prayer group once a month and the wonderful lady facilitating it started having us participate in corporate confession (we follow the acts model which you can read about here).
As I confessed some really hard and embarrassing things, I felt weights fall off of me that I hadn’t even realized I was carrying. I saw James 5:16 come to life, which says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working”. My sisters prayed for me and I for them, and no longer did those sins have power over me.
Now, I still struggle. Actually, the reason I wanted to write this post is because the Lord has revealed to me a very serious sin that was nowhere on my radar. I see now that it has been a major contributor to the sin that I have been wrestling with for months, if not years. I have been struggling with anger, impatience, frustration, and everything that fits under that category. It is something that I hate and have been praying for deliverance from for some time. This is not who I want to be and I despise this part of me with a passion.
Well, last night I came across an intensely convicting post. It was written by Jonathan Parnell, and you can view the post here. The Lord powerfully used it to show me that my anger is actually a branch off of a tree of darkness that I have allowed to grow…. And that tree is called selfishness.
Until last night, this sin was largely unknown to me. If I wasn’t searching very deep, I would think I was a very unselfish person. I raise my kids 24/7 without much break, I serve in my church and my community, and I’m usually looking for a way to bless others. But my anger blows the lie that I am unselfish out of the water! And I praise the Lord for that because as we become aware of underlying sin, we then have the power to defeat it!
We cannot overcome what we don’t know about. If an army were to come attack me tomorrow and I didn’t know about it, I would surely be defeated. But if I knew in advance, I would have time to get a plan in place. A plan that contained both defense and offensive moves. So it is with our spiritual life. When we are blind to sin that has taken root, it has the power to beat us up day after day. But when we know about that ugly sin, we have the power to demolish the strongholds it has set up(2 Corinthians 10:4)!
It is incredibly important to keep a heart that is open to God’s rebuke. Not only does confession heal us, but as we repent and accept the blood of Jesus as a covering for those dark blemishes within us, we will be able to discern what the Lord’s perfect will is!
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
I do not write this to boast. Quite the opposite, I am in a very humbled and vulnerable position right now as the Lord reveals to me more of my wicked heart.
But as I accept this revelation, I am keenly aware of God’s magnificent grace that is covering and holding me steady. I am also aware of 2 Corinthians 3:5 which says “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,”
We ourselves have no power over the sin that hardens our hearts and separates us from our awesome God. It is in Him alone that we are sufficient. And that gives rise to a massive sigh of relief within me. On Him I rest my hope, and I do not need to lean on my fickle self.
May we find our strength and hope in Him today. He alone is our salvation and we can trust that, as my sweet friend Jenn reminded me the other day, He works all things for our good and His glory. Amen.