Confession is a discipline that can be difficult for us as believers. The need for confession arises from our failure to live in the way God has called us to live. As we will learn this week, it can be a humbling thing to allow God to show us things that we need to confess, but confession also leads to freedom.
Read Psalm 32:1-5; James 5:16 and 1 John 1:5-10-
Think about the role that confession plays in the life of the church and of a believer. Do you find yourself resistant to confession? Take of few moments to consider why scripture says confession is an important part of living in the body of Christ.
Honest to God-
Sometimes even when we approach God in prayer we tend to “cover up” areas in our lives where we have not lived up to what God has called us to be. Take some time to examine your own life. Are there areas in your life that you need to “come clean” with God. Are there things God is calling you to do that you are resisting? Try to be as open and transparent with God as possible. (You might want to write out a letter to God and then run it through a paper shredder or burn it to remind you of the grace of God that forgives sin and cleanses us of all unrighteousness)
Being in Christian Community-
One of the ways that we practice confession is by sharing the journey of faith with other believers who are on the journey with us. This is one of the reasons that we stress Connection Classes here at Community. We believe that as we journey together, we confess the areas of weakness we have as well as the things that God is teaching us. If you haven’t found a Connection Class yet, it would be a great place to learn the discipline of confession.
Some things that we confess are very personal and should not be shared with the entire congregation. One of the ways that we can learn the discipline of confession with such matters is to find a trusted friend of the same sex that we can regularly meet with for confession. Sometimes it is good for us to hear another person reassure us that God is gracious.
Learning to Receive a Confession
One of the things that we could all benefit from is learning to be a good confidant. Are we the type of person who others can feel safe talking to? Do we keep things in confidence? When someone is dealing with an issue, the best thing we can do is to listen, assure the person of God’s love and forgiveness, and then keep it to ourselves!
In Isaiah 6: 1-5 the prophet Isaiah sees a vision of God and confesses not only for himself, but for the sins of his people. Every so often, we take the opportunity as a congregation to practice confession. We confess, as a church body, that we have not always lived as Christ would call us to live towards our neighbors. Here at community, we always have a service of confession on Ash Wednesday that emphasizes cooperate confession. Plan now to attend the service this year.