Is Christ Working in You?
Psalm 51; Amos 5:4-6; Romans 5:1-11; James 4: 7-10; 5:16; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:9
Confession is the obedience to commit ourselves to leading a life that is worthy to be called Christian, as our new life is in Christ.
1. So, is your life worthy?
2. What do you want to do in your life?
3. Does it correspond to God's Word?
Our call in life is to please God. But, we have a disconnect happening, because the Fall of man defaced everything in this world, including our thinking, relationships, and faith! Our sin will block any attempt to seek our Lord; that is why the cross was, and is, so essential. This applies to everyone; even those of us who are fortunate to be saved by Grace are affected by sin. Christ's atonement means He covered the sin, but it still remains, lurking, destroying, and causing us to replace good thinking with bad.
Thus, Confession will allow us to recognize, then confess our sins to God and allow others to hold us to it. This will motivate us to yield to the work of the Spirit within us. Our confession helps remove the blockage and allows His work to flow. His work is there; the question is, will we respond to it by faith? Sin and confession are not popular subjects. Who wants to be bothered and confronted, let alone be convicted? But, for us to grow and mature, we have to, lest we remain in those sins, and how sad that would be! Sin will cloud everything. It will blind us to truth and from seeing the will of God for our lives.
How Do I Practice this "Discipline of Confession?"
So, what can I do? Just like in repentance, do not laugh at sin or rationalize it; rather guard against it. This is where our confession in Christ and being held accountable helps us stay focused, grow, and be the person who is authentic in the faith. Thus, we must allow Christ's conviction and our accountably to others to examine who we are and who we ought to be. If we are in a self-indulgent life-style, with the desire to live and do as we please, we are headed for trouble and for a life that is sad and pathetic. We may be Christians, sealed by His Grace, but do we serve Him as we "run" our personal lives and His Church? God wants us to "hear this word," not bow to our pleasure-seeking mindsets, so we can have our personal aspirations of control surrendered to Him, allowing His Lordship to be manifested in all parts of our lives (Isa. 28:7-8; Am. 4:1).
Prior to beginning this "Discipline," seek out some same-gender people who are more mature and/or further in their walk with Christ than you, and ask them to hold you accountable (if you think there are none, you have pride, or fear, or anger, or perhaps the desire to stay in your sins clouding you, because even Billy Graham has such people in his life!). Perhaps a small group or a mentor will suffice. We have many resources on our Small GroupsChannel. Also, as in all these disciplines, be prepared to take "baby steps."
Take a look at your conscience and counsel from others, your regret and grief, and your determination to avoid sin"
1. Do they line up to His Way as they should? Then, realize God's care, love, and presence is upon you to guide you through this!
2. This means we are "on guard" with our faith! How can you do this?
This is something in which you are not alone; you have Christ and others!
We can be aware that when we slip, there are others to help catch us. Of course, the key is to be open and honest to face what is seeking to harm us. We also need to beware that sin is usually gradual and we do not notice; sometimes, we do not care or see this as a problem until severe damage is done. So, realize that this is serious business and we need one another!
What happens when we practice this Discipline of Confession?
When we draw near to God, the ways of the world, the devil, and our pride are pushed further away and we mature. If we draw near to our desires, we seek to serve ourselves and even the devil; then God is pushed further away. Your ability to confess will help you go in the right direction, the choice is up to you.
· Our confession gives us true piety and holiness as we grow further in Christ; it is produced by the Spirit's lead and our learning, the ability to give and receive forgiveness, and this produces a life of contentment.
· We need not be frustrated or filled with worry when we have Christ (1 John 4:17-19).
· We have to make a commitment to acknowledge our fallen nature, and be willing and able to confess our sin and repent, which means we do not do it again. It also means to have someone hold us accountable, and that we confess our sins to God.
· When we are not accountable to God and to others, such as a spouse, pastor, mentor, or friend, we are free to sin, which will lead to social and physical disaster. Refusing to deal with sin will lead to pornography, flirting, inappropriate lust, jealousy, and then sexual encounters, relationship breakdowns, and perhaps, the break-up of a marriage that God brought together.
· Are you showing true acceptance of Jesus as your Lord? You can know this by doing what He says (Luke 6:46).
· Living a surrendered, redeemed life is about seeking the Lord's will, and seeking to glorify Him!
I have found the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), as well as the Fruit of the Spirit and "the flesh" (Gal. 5: 16-26) are excellent templates to use as tools for our assessment.
1. Have you ever made a profession of faith publicly? If so how did you do, what did you say and how did you feel? How is that lived out today?
2. How do I exhibit a life of confession in my daily life now?
3. What can you do to better be willing, in discipline, to be a person who confesses to God?
4. What can you do to allow trusted others to hold you accountable?
5. What blocks confession from working and being exhibited in you?
6. How can you initiate confession and be disciplined to continually carry it out?
7. What can I do to make confession function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
8. Are you a person who desires to lead a lifestyle that allows the introspection of other mature Christians in your life? If not, why not?
9. How does your confession help you make the right decisions?
10. What is the cost to the Kingdom of God when Christians refuse to confess?
11. Take a look at your conscience, your regret and grief, and your determination to avoid sin. Do they line up to His Way as they should?
12. Think through the steps you need to take to put confession into action in a specific instance. For example, what can you do to improve your confessional life and relationship with Christ and others? What are the steps you would take to obtain a good mentor (if you do not have one already) to hold you accountable and also keep you encouraged?
Additional Scriptures on the Disciplines of Confession and Repentance: 2 Chronicles 7:14; 30:6-9; Psalm 34:14,18; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:3-8; Matthew 4:17; 6:33; 23:12; John 20:23; Acts 17:30; 20: 17-21; 24:14; Romans 2:4; 3:9-4:8; 2 Corinthians 7:8-12; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 4:19
© 2006, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org