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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

I Must Confess

How many times have we heard that confession is good for the soul? One of the first scriptures we are taught as new Christians is the Apostle John's admonition,

"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9 NLT).

Virtually every religion urges confession of sin by one method or another. Even within the Christian Church, there are differences in methods and rituals. The important thing to remember is to open our self to God and not hold back.

I am reminded of the old hymn written by Elisha Hoffman in 1893, I Must Tell Jesus. One verse says: "I must tell Jesus all of my troubles, He is a kind, compassionate friend; If I but ask Him He will deliver, Make of my troubles quickly an end."

Elisha Hoffman told how he came to write the hymn:

"During a pastorate in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, there was a woman to whom God permitted many visitations of sorrow and affliction. Coming to her home one day, I found her much discouraged. She unburdened her heart, concluding with the question, 'Brother Hoffman, what shall I do? What shall I do?' I quoted from the word, then added, 'You cannot do better than to take all of your sorrows to Jesus. You must tell Jesus.'

For a moment she seemed lost in meditation. Then her eyes lighted as she exclaimed, 'Yes, I must tell Jesus.' As I left her home I had a vision of that joy-illuminated face ... and I heard all along my pathway the echo, 'I must tell Jesus ... I must tell Jesus.'"

As Pastor Hoffman explained, this dear sister didn't hold back. Confession goes beyond seeking forgiveness for our sins. Confession is a way of drawing close to God and developing an intimate personal relationship by sharing the private side of our lives with Him. If we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we do wrong. People struggle with secrets, and whether it is sin or thoughts of sin, the Lord Jesus welcomes our confession.

We should share our heart with Him, our whole heart. Just lay it out! He knows it all anyway, and if there is sin, He'll forgive us. Or if we struggle with sin, He'll help us to overcome it. Living the Christian life is a journey, not an arrival. Every step of the journey brings us closer to conforming to the image of Christ.

Holding back from Him stunts our spiritual growth. Letting go and confessing to God releases us into the vastness of His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Give it up! We must forget about our pride and draw close to Him. We have His promise that when we draw close to Him, He will draw close to us.

The Bible also tells us to encourage ourselves in the Lord. Jesus said, "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours" (Mark 11:23-24 NLT). We can experience the power of the Word of God by confessing it into our lives.

Confess and receive the promises of God. We should remind ourselves that the Bible says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NLT).

And, "It is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved" (Romans 10:10 NLT). We should keep short accounts with God by confessing our sins, confessing our innermost thoughts, and confessing His word into our life.

I am still a work in progress myself ... I must confess.

Copyright © 2014, Gene Markland. Used by permission.

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