This post is part of a 9-part series called Extraordinary Pastor, Ordinary Follower of Jesus. You can watch the introduction video here.

Part 7 – The Proper Way to Deal With Sin…Confession

So many people have anemic spiritual lives because they’re living with sin and rather than confront it head on and do something about it, they choose to ignore it, or explain it away, or blame it on someone else. The truth is, you and I have a sin problem. If we’re really honest our hearts are capable of sin at all times. Dallas Willard in Spirit of the Disciplines talks about a readiness-to-sin factor that is there in all of us.  Our readiness to sin is so real that sometimes even the slightest provocation can release a flood of sinful thoughts and behaviors that can make us want to retaliate or punish or humiliate another person — and even if we’re sensitive to sin in our life and are trying to avoid sin — our readiness to sin can catch us off guard.

Sin is not just specific acts. It is that and those need to be named as specifically as they can be. It is also this brokenness inside me. It leaks out of me all the time and I can’t flip a switch and make it go away. It’s not just me. That is the human condition.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

The lost art of confession

  • Following Jesus starts with an acknowledgement of who Jesus is and who you are. In the passage we’ve been working through, Peter’s relationship with Jesus begins with a confession, he says, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8). Peter owned up to who he was when he was face to face with the Holy One.
  • Confession is the proper starting place for following Jesus. Not “Jesus needs me”, or “I deserve this”, or “this will make my life better.” Confession is the starting place.

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” – Romans 10:9-10

It is evident from these verses that the Christian life is both initiated and sustained through confession. Sin has separated you from God. I believe that confession is commanded, is very important, not so much because God needs it in order to forgive, but rather primarily because we need it in order to heal and be changed. Confession is not just an accounting procedure it’s a relational glue. Just like in a marriage, a husband doesn’t confess just to get it over with and make it right, he confesses because he wants to restore the relationship to a place of closeness and intimacy.

How to Confess your Sins:

  • Spend focused time with God and acknowledge who He is.
  • Admit that your relationship with God has been broken by your sin.
  • Take full responsibility.
  • Get specific.
  • Claim God’s forgiveness in Christ.
  • Share your confession with a trusted Christian friend.

People who seek to live a holy life commit themselves to the Practice of Confession. “Confess your sins one to another.” (James 5:16) Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes these amazing words, “He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone” (from Life Together). It’s time to come out of hiding and confess your sins.

← Part 6 |  Part 8 (Coming Next Week) →