Monday is where some of the content from Sunday’s message that hit the cutting room floor last week finds new life. It’s the overflow of what I couldn’t jam into the message.
You can catch the other Overflow blogs HERE.
Watch or listen to the Unruined series in the Awaken teaching archive.
If you have a Catholic background, that word immediately conjures up images of priests, confessional booths, and Hail Marys.
If you don’t have a religious background, “confession” may make you think of admitting to a crime or getting caught when you weren’t as sly as you thought you were.
Whatever comes to your mind, it’s probably not a good thing…but I hope to change that.
Nehemiah 9 continues the scene from Chapter 8 as Ezra opens the scroll of the Law and begins to read. A few weeks have passed since that scene, the Jews have celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles (something that hadn’t had that level of participation in over 1,000 years), and now they’re back for more. Nehemiah 9 says they spent 1/4 of the day reading the Word and 1/4 of the day confessing their sin and praying.
HALF OF THE DAY. They spent half of the day just focusing on and responding to God’s Word. Why? Because when you read God’s Word, God’s Word reads you. (tweet this)
And why such a long, drawn out scene of confession and repentance? Let’s look at a few important thoughts about confessing our sin…
The definition of confession.
When you boil it down, confessing sin is simply agreeing with God’s opinion about your sin. (tweet this) Sin is ugly. It killed God’s Son, Jesus. God sees our every action, thought, intent, and motive, so He’s not fooled by the facade that we may fool others with.
Confession is not about informing God of something He didn’t already know. You’re freeing yourself from thinking you got away with it!
The benefits of confession.
In Sunday’s message, we covered three things confessing sin enables in our lives, but here’s a quick recap:
Confessing sin enables forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confessing sin enables healing. James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed…
Confessing sin enables mercy. Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
So if you want forgiveness, healing, and mercy in your life (and I think it’s safe to say we all do), confessing your sin is the God-given channel to receive all three! It’s a package deal.
The timeline of confession.
One mark of spiritual maturity is the ever-decreasing length of time that lapses between the offense and the confession. The quicker you are to recognize and repent, the better. Quickness in confessing sin demonstrates a few things: 1) You’re in tune with the Holy Spirit when He convicts, and 2) You’re willing to respond when He prompts.
It’s always better to get it off your chest anyway. In Psalm 32, David writes about a time when he tried to hide his sin, but he couldn’t keep hiding it.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. – Psalm 32:3–4 (ESV)
Although it’s uncomfortable in the moment, I’ve grown to love the “heavy hand of the Lord” on me that prevents me from keeping quiet about my sin. God loves me too much to let me get away with my sin. God doesn’t spoil His kids. His grace doesn’t give me the license to sin – it sets me free from bondage to my sin. Freedom is found by His grace when I confess.
Confession gets a bad rap. Don’t let it. It’s a good thing, and the more you do it, the more freedom you’ll find from it, and the more you’ll grow to love it!