"My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear...
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin."
Psalm 38:4, 18
Sin is damaging to our relationship with God, yet He has give us a promise:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9
Pray: Where are you broken by sin? How have you walked away from God? Bring this to Him in prayers of confession.
This is more than a spoken apology. True confession involves faith and a genuine sorrow over our sins. It is a life-long discipline of confronting our sin, asking in faith for forgiveness, and choosing to live for God's purposes.
Read and be encouraged by Luke 15:11-32. This is God's heart towards us.
Perhaps the hardest part of confession is actually accepting God's gift of forgiveness. Sometimes I catch myself trying to distance myself from my sin with time and good works. However, God makes it very clear that:
"...it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
Check: Have you lived in an effort to repay your sin instead of accepting His gift of grace? May we live in our love for God, not in a desperate attempt to earn what is freely ours through faith.
If you are walking through a season of "green pastures" in which it is difficult to see the need to confess anything, I challenge you to remember Psalm 19, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord..."
Jesus consistently taught that the content of our heart weighs more than the show of outward godliness. Although you may live as a "good" person, do you love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength?
As it reads in Proverbs 21:2:
"All a man's ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs the heart."
Pray that you may understand the motives and purposes of your own heart.
He hears the prayers we do not say aloud and He sees past our flesh, blood, and facades of righteousness into who we truly are...and yet He still loves us beyond our understanding.
Pray for the the courage to confront and confess the ways you do not love Him from the inside out. If we are unwilling to be honest in our prayers, we might as well not say anything.
This is not an attempt to overly criticize every corner of our lives until we're depressed by our constant imperfections. It is with hope in His promises and out of a love for God that we "...throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles...to run with perseverance the race marked out for us." It is out of reverence for God that we "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness."
Next step: Philippians 3:12-14