Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Call to Confession

This is not a call for the religious. It’s especially not a call I care to answer, as I’m afraid I’ll be exposed for the spiritual fraud I am… look at that last sentence; confession simply can not take place in a heart like that. Four references to myself in one sentence! This entry is about obedience before self to a just and holy God. An honest look may expose your Christianity as it has mine, that it can sometimes become more about what “they” think than about Jesus. Confession, on the other hand, is like lying down, open chest exposed, for spiritual surgery. It’s an act that cleaves the flesh from the heart; that flushes out pretension and fills with authenticity. And it’s something I haven’t done in a long time...

I don’t always feel spiritual. I don’t always “feel” like I love Jesus. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t care. My mind gets focused on my job or my friends or what I don’t have – and my thoughts about Him become less and less. I don’t care to read my bible or pray… and my words towards others aren’t encouraging… they’re short. You see, apathy is not my only issue. Some people who read this blog think because I write about visions or praying on my face that I have attained something spiritually. I’ve attained nothing. Everything I have I’ve been given… even so, I forget about the Giver, like a child that does not know how much his parents sacrificed for the clothes he wears and the food he eats.

I haven’t been tithing since March 23rd. It would be easy for me to say that it had to do with moving and not having joined my new church yet. The real reason: money is tight and I had been pushing it off. Malachi 3:6-12 recently flashed through my head – and I joyfully set up a recurring payment online for my new church and paid my back-tithes. Tithing, like confession, is not something God needs from us. He already knows our sin and all the riches already belong to Him. Our role is in our obedience.

My heart has been focused on me. I wonder at why they “wronged” me or why they say things they do. I take offense at things not worth being offended over. I see to it that my needs are met before I see to the needs of others. I have become the definition of selfish – and any departure from that is an act of God’s grace. Lord, grant me brokenness. I give you my hard and prideful heart. There is so much more I want to tell you – give me a friend I can trust to talk about my struggles!

But, it’s not just our close brothers and sisters that need to hear our confessions. My favorite part of the book “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller is when they set up a tent during a college drunkfest/orgy in Portland, Oregon. The tent had a sign over it that read “Confess Your Sins.” The students, with Donald, dressed up in monks clothes and smoked pipes while they waited as the other students mocked and laughed at them -- for good reason. Finally, after hours of standing and waiting, one half-drunk student walked in. He asked, “So, am I just supposed to spill it or what.” To which Donald replied, “Well, no… I really just wanted to tell you about what I had done… and ask for your forgiveness.” In front of the wide-eyed student, he began to ask for forgiveness for the crusades, for his personal sins, for acts of hate done in the name of Christ. He went on for thirty minutes. The visitor broke down… and before they knew it, the line filled the sidewalks with students waiting to hear from authentic Christians. You may be wondering what good this did… over the next couple of months, it opened up bible studies and Christian interest sessions where there had been none before. In a godless college, authenticity paved the way for Jesus to be made known.

Why do we feel like we have to hide our shortcomings – as if our mistakes will discredit Christ? If the secret got out that we are not perfect would non-believers then draw the conclusion that Christ is not perfect? If so, what message were we trying to get out: Christ crucified or Christian glorified? Is Christ's deity hanging on our spotlessness? Did Christ not die for that very reason, our fallen state? Is it only through grace that we are righteous? Why do we need to defend ourselves when people outside the church point to our faults? Why not confess and ask for forgiveness? Why not point to Jesus as our only hope? How refreshing and authentic would that be?

Some say, “I confess to the Lord… but not to other people.” Read James 5:16. We’re not talking about airing your dirty laundry for all to see; certainly, there are sins I would not mention on this blog. Confession is about rebuilding and renewing, not burdening or shaming. It’s about keeping your relationship with Jesus fresh and alive and open… confessing your sins so that the devil would not have a secret foothold in your life.

2 Corinthians 9:13 says, “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”


Blogger deborah said...

People tend to be judgemental. Its important to keep our focus on God. What others think is not important. It is God alone who matters and He knows everything about us and certainly our heart. I have learned trying to explain oneself or one's actions to others is not necessary. God Bless

9:39 PM  

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