Wednesday, June 22, 2011

confession

“I don’t believe in “Easy Believism.”   It’s probably a plain human tendency, and definetely a current American trend, to think that ‘Christian’ simply means checking a box, saying a prayer, possibly some sprinkling on some church attendance and nothing else.  
Too often we might think, “Maybe Jesus is like a good wine?  Since I’ve got such sophisticated tastes, I know a good wine when I taste one and Jesus is the choice for me.  He makes me warm inside and smile big and and beyond that the rest of my life is mine to live.”   Easy Believism.  No way.  
I believe passionately, desperately, joyfully that our whole lives are to hang on him, be hidden in Christ...
I believe...  and at the same time, I live in the delusion of “easy believism” too.   Without thinking and sadly, without noticing, I too-often live assuming, “Good thing Jesus has forgiven all my sin” and I’m too dull-hearted, self-consumed, and proud of my disposable-everything life to ever think twice about what eternal sin it is that I’ve been so graciously forgiven of.  And how do I ever hope to not fall into it again if I don’t even pay attention to what it is?  
Christ’s grace doesn’t let me hide my sin from me or him or anyone.  Praise be!  It covers over me, covers my sin (it’s worth its own study to explore all the implications there), but it is also scrubs me up to wash me clean and refines me with fire to change and transform me.   And apart from the blessed result of confessing, simply the act of confessing humbles me and causes me again to gaze on the extraordinary goodness of God....  and I, for one, am in desperate need of such a reminder and just such humbling.
David McIntyre pours out sweet wisdom in his excellent book, The Hidden Life of Prayer, and in chapter five on confession in particular:
... Oh to be like King David who “point[s] with his finger to the sore:  “I have done this evil” (Ps 51:4): he doth not say, “I have done evil,” but “this evil.” He points to his blood-guiltiness.”
... “Think of the guilt of sin,  that you may be humbled.  Think of the power of sin, that you may seek strength against it.  Think not of the matter of sin... lest you be more and more entangled.”  (DM quotes John Owen.)
... “Deadness of heart may arise also from the consciousness of our [many] sins of omission- duties unattempted, opportunities unimproved, grace disregarded... Each day is a vessel to be freighted with holy deeds and earnest endeavors before it weighs anchor and sets sail for the eternal shores.  How many hours we misspend!  How many occasions we loose!  How many precious gifts of God we squander!  And the world passeth away...”
... “The fouler was the error.  The sadder was the fall.  The ampler are the praises of him who pardoned all.”  


So... how to apply this desire, this command in my everyday life?  For a powerful, doable visual, I'm going to try Ann Voskamp's Repentance Box idea.   She suggests that everyone write out sins on slips of paper and put them in a "tomb box" that can be opened early on Easter morning to see that our sins are not there, for Christ is Risen! and those sins of ours he nailed to the cross and defeated.


For Easter we did this as a family and I'd like to teach our kids about it regularly (our sins sure are regular.)  But for me, it will probably end up as a simplified note of paper that is thrown in the trash every evening.  Oh that I would be diligent in this sweet exercise!  


I'm finding it to be like built-in accountability in my walk with God...  having my sins identified before God (just like with an accountability partner) is crucial in addressing my sanctification... (and if growth in godliness isn't on the map in my mind, what is?  Christ?)
Endless eternal benefits flow from this means of grace.  Confession humbles me, makes me more rightly attuned to the goodness of my God to provide rescue for undeserving me, and is vital for helping me obey  commands like 1 Peter 5:9-10.
Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brother hood throughout the world. 


Would that we be His people:  watchful, confessed-clean, humbled and glad in him, ready with the sword of the Spirit, selflessly united and strong in the Body of Christ, devoted to his kingdom, doing the works of God.  

This past Sunday, a friend of ours spoke on these verses and he used this video to illustrate.  His edited clip, shorter than the YouTube version, better spotlighted the point of these verses, but these 8 minutes are still amazing to watch and well worth the learning...  







1 comment:

  1. What an epic entry, Jill...and what an epic video, too! How strong we are when we are united in Christ! I bet it was a great sermon...love hearing from you and your heart...

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