True Repentance

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

IMG_1556I love the example of true repentance David portrays in Psalms 51. David had been confronted by Nathan the prophet about his adultery with Bathsheba. I encourage you to go read the entire chapter now. (Click the reference above.)

Three Steps of True Repentance:

  1. Acknowledge the sin: When Nathan confronted David with his sin he didn’t try to make excuses for what he had done. He accepted responsibility and his prayer reflects sincere conviction. Initially he tried to hide his sin by committing yet another sin, the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. I imagine David was already feeling the weight of his guilt long before Nathan ever confronted him.  God used Nathan to help David see we cannot hide from our past. We have to confront it before we can leave it behind.  
  2. Accept the consequences: David’s sin cost him the life of his son. (See: 2 Samuel 12) God will always forgive our sin, but that doesn’t mean we will always escape the consequences of our actions. God’s punishments have purpose. They are not about vengeance. 
  3. Pray for God’s mercy, cleansing and restoration: Most of David’s prayer is spent asking for God’s mercy, cleansing and restoration. As dire as the loss of his son was, David knew he couldn’t live without his fellowship with God. He needed God to do what he was not capable of doing himself. When we do our part (repent), God does His part (restore). God loves us. He longs to forgive us and cleanse us. When my son was a child he hated taking a bath, but once I got him in the tub, he didn’t want to get out. When I think of our reluctance to go to God with a spirit of true repentance I imagine the same scenario . Just dive into the cleansing stream. You won’t want to leave. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me an example of what repentance looks like in David’s prayer. This Psalm has been a favorite of mine for many years because I can relate to David’s desire for inner healing. My heart longs for the purity only You can provide, Lord. I don’t want anything to interfere with my fellowship with You. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Convict me when needed and remind me to dive into Your cleansing stream. Bathe me in the joy of Your salvation. Keep me humble enough Lord to allow my transparency to impact others who need to know You are a God of love and mercy.

 

The Power of Confession

IMG_1422Since Jesus is my ‘High Priest’ I never really thought about the need to confess my sins to others, except in cases where I wronged someone.

Confession takes humility and trust. Do you have people of integrity in your life you can trust enough to bare your soul? My Pastor often talks about the need to have 4 or more Christian friends in your life. 

If you’ve ever had a confidence betrayed, trust may not come easy for you. I understand. God does too. He doesn’t ask us to confess our sins to each other to shame us. So why does He advise us to do this? For our healing. When we confess our sins to Jesus we are forgiven. Our confession to others has nothing to do with forgiveness, unless of course we are asking someone to forgive us for a sin against them. I remember many times as a teen going to my Dad to tell him I had disobeyed him. It wasn’t because I was afraid he would find out; it was because the guilt I felt was worse than my fear of punishment.

Guilt and shame are a heavy burden to bare alone. God knows how therapeutic it is to share our faults with one another, in an environment of trust. I wonder how many therapists would still be in business if we took James 5:16 to heart. (Not that there is anything wrong with seeing a therapist.)

This scripture also confirms the power of agreement in prayer. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” -Matthew 18:18-20 (NKJV) If you are struggling with a particular sin you just can’t seem to overcome, it may be time to call in reinforcements. You do not have to suffer alone. 

Another benefit of confession is accountability. When we share our sins with others we make ourselves accountable to them. We are not only asking for prayer support, but in essence we are giving them permission to follow up with us, to make sure we are walking in victory. 

Additionally, God wants to use your story to impact others. Revelation 12:11 tells us, “They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony.” Your story is powerful! If you allow shame to keep you silent you miss the opportunity to help others. I know from experience the joy of seeing someone moved by the transparency of sharing my testimony. Others need hope that they too can overcome.  

In closing, the power of confession brings healing, deliverance, accountability and influence. Find a trustworthy brother or sister in Christ and begin to build the kind of relationship that fosters authenticity. And remember, to have a friend, you have to be a friend.