IN OUR CELEBRATE DISCIPLINE COLUMN EACH MONTH WE ARE LEARNING A NEW SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE, HOW TO APPLY IT AND HOPEFULLY GROW INTO THE PEOPLE GOD WANTS US TO BE.
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: habits that nurture spiritual growth; exercises unto godliness.
CONFESSION: an admission of misdeeds or faults to God or another person.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. ~ Psalm 139:23-24
Since God desires to give and forgive, He has put in place the process of redemption which started at the Cross and was confirmed with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is because of Christ's holy work and through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can make our confession and know that forgiveness is possible.
The Spiritual Discipline of Confession is a difficult one for us because we often choose to see our community as one full of saints rather than a fellowship of sinners. All the more reason for confession to be a priority in our lives. When we are able to help someone struggling with their lives it helps us to know we aren't alone in our struggle with sin. If I am left alone in the confession of my sin, I stay in the dark. It is in the light of mutual confession that healing power is released and lives are transformed.
In some Christian traditions there are formal printed confessions spoken as a congregation or to a confessor. There are many advantages to this method.
- No more excuses or blaming. We confess that we have sinned by our own fault.
- Forgiveness is expected and given. With words from a brother or sister our forgiveness is sealed by the Holy Spirit.
- Remorse is experienced. We use this time to consider the seriousness of our sin against God.
Confession journalling is another avenue to consider. As we go about our daily lives we can process our various sin struggles in a diary or journal. This can be a sweet time of self-examination with the Lord at the end of the day.
The most common view of confession is that spoken to another person. But before we run off and start sharing our deep dark secrets we must take care to find the proper person. Key qualifications we should look for are: spiritual maturity, compassion, wisdom and the ability to keep a confidence.
Having found a confidant there are three things we must check before we begin.
- Our conscience ~ We invite God to show us where we need healing and forgiveness.
- Our sorrow ~ We are taking our confession seriously because we know we have offended God.
- Our desire to sin ~ We ask God to help us live holy lives from this point forward.
The Spiritual Discipline of Confession breaks all pretenses over our life. We are now free to walk in our God given grace and forgiveness with the hope of making a difference in the lives of those around us.
"Honesty leads to confession, and confession leads to change." ~ Richard Foster
If you can't see the video screen below CLICK HERE for a beautiful song to meditate on.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun