As you move though these spiritual disciplines during the 52 Day Challenge you will be confronted with the discipline of confession. Especially as you begin these first 21 days of prayer and fasting. God will begin to show you sin, areas of your life that don’t look like Christ, areas of your life that you need to let go of, areas you need to run from. As our verse today asks us to meditate on in 2 Chronicles 16:9, God is looking for fully committed followers. As God shows you your sin, repent, confess it before Him and also find a brother or sister in the Lord to share it with in the days ahead.
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverbs:28:13
The last words of each clause contain the most important truth. If you conceal your sin, you will not prosper. If you confess it and forsake it, you will find mercy. How hard it is to believe these words and to take them at face value. When we sin, everything within us screams out, “Cover it up. Turn off the lights. Bury the evidence. Destroy the tapes. Make up an alibi. Leave the scene of the crime. Run! Run! Run!”
Something in our spiritual bloodstream causes us to run from the pain of confession. When God confronted Adam with his sin, the first man-made the first excuse in history: “The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). Not a very noble answer. In the end he grudgingly confesses, but not before blaming Eve and, by implication, God.
Two key words deserve special attention. The first is confess, which means “to tell the whole truth.” When we confess, we are not only admitting our sin; we are also agreeing with God’s assessment of what we did. True confession begins with the notion that God is God and that we have knowingly violated His standards. The second word is renounce, which means “to abandon, forsake, desert, turn away from.” True confession always leads to renunciation. If after confessing our sin we quickly return to it, or if we long to return to it, then we have missed the teaching of this verse and we will not find God’s mercy.
Take the words of Jesus in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I read a pastor that added the insight to the phrase: “The truth shall make you free . . . but it will hurt you first.”
This explains why so many people struggle with their problems for years. They don’t want the truth to hurt them . . . so they avoid the truth at all costs.
Do they want to get better? Absolutely.
Do they know the truth? Intellectually, yes.
Then why don’t they get better? Because they won’t let the truth get close enough to hurt them. Instead, they erect a thousand defense mechanisms that deflect the truth before it hits home.
Which explains why you can go to church for years, listen to sermons for years, read the Bible and pray for years-and still not get better. “The truth will set you free, but it will hurt you first.” When you are finally willing to be hurt by the truth about yourself, then-and only then-will you be set free.
Most people don’t enjoy confessing their sins, so they avoid it whenever possible. But when we dare to take God at His word, we discover the joy of forgiveness. If you are willing to tell the truth about yourself, you can be set free.
Is it getting easier for you to say, “I was wrong”?
Why is confession such a crucial part of the spiritual life? What happens when we refuse to confess our sins? What sin do you need to confess right now?