Pastor Adam taught on a category of Psalms that are key when moving from lament (see 11/4) to thanksgiving and worship (see 11/11 and 11/16). These are Psalms of confession. They include Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143.
Confession is not a popular word in our culture. None of us likes to admit our wrongs and mistakes. In fact, the very word “mistake” dumbs down what is called SIN throughout scripture. Sin is another word that is not popular. It might even be considered offensive and not PC in our current culture. The 2008 Oxford Junior Dictionary took the word “sin” out because the “younger generation doesn’t use it.”
Most of us are more comfortable with words like “mistake” or “struggle” or “downfall” rather than sin. However, sin is a reality throughout scripture. It is what separates us from a pure and holy God. Our prideful nature makes us not want to be accountable and then we wonder why we don’t have a vibrant, joy filled, Christian journey and experience stress and discord in many of our relationships. Some of this week’s scripture will even introduce the possibility of physical, emotional and spiritual illness because of unconfessed sin.
Just because sin is not a popular word does not mean it does not exist. When we are comfortable removing sin from our vocabulary, churches and lives, there is no confession. If there is no confession, there is no forgiveness. If there is no forgiveness, there is no healing and living in the joy of the blessings of God. Could you be feeling “stuck” because of unconfessed sin in your life?
We will see in our study this week the repeated pattern from scripture of blessing/sin and sin/blessing. They are closely connected. Our confession of sin and God’s blessing in life go hand in hand. Could you be missing out on God’s blessings in your life and relationships because of sin?
By way of reminder: The Advent devotional “Transforming Love” begins next Sunday. These will be a perfect partner to confession of sin and learning to forgive both others and yourself because these devotions will be focused on how loved and accepted you are because of Jesus Christ. Basking in the love of Jesus, and moving beyond “knowing” to truly believing and living it out is what “transforming love” is all about. Like Pastor Adam mentioned, “the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is directly proportional to our understanding that you are a sinner.” The devotions will be posted on the blog each morning, or you can receive them by e-mail. Send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “advent” in the subject line and you will begin receiving them next week!
INVITATION: Consider putting ALL the pieces together beginning this week and throughout Advent: face the disease (sin); apply the diagnosis (confession); and then begin the healing process letting the love of God seep deep within you throughout Advent.
MONDAY: Psalm 32:1-2: Sins are covered when they are confessed to God. Are you willing to pray for THE LORD to show you sins that need to be confessed? This is not your own conscience coming up with all your faults, mistakes, etc.—which is often nothing more than false guilt. This is asking God to reveal your sins. Psalm 139:23 says, “search me and know my heart.” Maybe you can take that into your week as a prayer? Some people find it helpful to carry around a notebook and jot down the things the Lord digs up. This is not fun. No one likes it. However, we ALL like a clean slate and God’s blessings! Perhaps this week can be an internal “housecleaning” week in order to live in the fullness and covering of God’s forgiveness this Advent season and moving forward into a new year?
TUESDAY: Psalm 32:3-4: David mentions some side effects of holding things in. Could some of your physical and emotional and relational struggles be from holding things in and possible unconfessed sin? Use this possibility to motivate you today to spend time reflecting on your sin and asking God to help you uncover “hidden sins”. (See also: Psalm 19:12).
WEDNESDAY: Psalm 32:5 and I John 1:5-10: This verse in Psalm speaks of not covering up our iniquities and confessing our transgressions. The I John verses indicate God’s expectation is confession. What feelings arise as you read these strong verses from I John? Are you willing to ask the Lord to show you where you might be walking in darkness?
THURSDAY: Psalm 32:5: We are re-reading this verse today to focus on part (b) which mentions God’s forgiveness of the “guilt of my sin.” Many live under the darkness of a belief system that sounds something like this: “I believe I’m forgiven, but I need to remain miserable the rest of my life because of how sinful I am.” Are you holding yourself to a standard GOD does not hold nor does scripture teach? Are you attributing unforgiveness to God that is really you not forgiving yourself? If you have confessed your sins, they are forgiven. The blood of Jesus covers them. If you hang on to them and live in that bondage, it in essence negates the very reason Jesus came to the earth, suffered, bled and died. It was for YOUR sins and my sins. He has paid the price. You no longer need to carry the weight of them around. Are you ready to begin stepping out in the forgiveness and freedom?
FRIDAY: Psalm 103:12: Once you confess your sins (uncover them), God covers us with forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-2). God has REMOVED your transgressions! Perhaps you might consider a “ceremony” of some type as this week comes to an end and Advent is around the corner. If you have confessed sins this week, consider writing them on paper and burning them. Sometimes a tangible exercise helps us use portions of our brain we don’t normally use and can help appropriate the TRUTH of what you have studied and hopefully experienced this week.