Time of Confession

Can I just say this morning that I’ve been feeling a bit blue lately? It’s not because I don’t have the most abundant of blessings around me because I do. So what is it that causes us to feel down while all around us is truly good? I don’t entirely know or understand, but I think that the simplest answer I do know is that it’s sin in some version: either a direct result of the fall in that our hormones get out of whack and we feel like crazy people or that we aren’t confessing the sin issues in our heart or walking very closely with the Lord. I’d like to admit that the past few days I’ve been definitely guilty of the latter (and perhaps had some of the former going on as well).

I so admire my dad. I’ll explain. When I’m around my family members, it’s difficult for me to maintain the same routines that I run at home. When I’m home, I have my own schedule, and it oftentimes doesn’t include sitting down to have coffee with my mom and sisters. And while I LOVE that I’ve had that opportunity the past several days, I’ve found myself falling out of sync with my Jesus – putting off time with him so that I can have more time with my family. But this certainly isn’t a trait that I’ve learned from my dad. In the morning, you usually won’t see him for a little while – no matter whose house he’s at. He wakes up and commits himself to his time with the Lord every day, no matter what is on the agenda. And you know what? I think his time with family is always better spent and enjoyed for it.

I’m admitting all of this because it’s time for me to confess that I let other things, usually people that I love, get in the way of my time with Jesus. And then you know what my heart begins to hear? “Meghann, clearly these people are more valuable to you than Jesus. You live in such a way that you only reach out to him when you need him or when it’s convenient.” And then I despise that thought and find myself in a place of condemnation. If only I were as disciplined as my dad.

But while confession is necessary, I also am not to live in shame – conviction yes, but not shame. Conviction: does the way that I spend my time when my routine is affected communicate something to me about my priorities? Yes, I think it does. Shame: I turn introspective and obsess over my failures and faults. Scripture is clear that we are not to live in shame and condemnation. You know why? Because when we do, we’re more likely to be walking in willful sin. When we think less of ourselves because of our failures, we’re identifying with our failures rather than in what Christ thinks of us. And we’re ultimately being driven by a prideful spirit that believes it can fix itself if it just tries harder.

Romans 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

Oh how I loathe my tendency to fall back into my sinful identity: the one that tells me that I’ll never be good enough, that I just need to try harder, that the Lord is displeased with me when I’m not 100% focused on him (which, sadly is always), that beats me up and kicks on me and makes me feel deeply wounded.

BUT – here’s the deal. Today is a new day. Mercies are new every morning. And you, and me, DO NOT HAVE TO live in the shame or fear of our past mistakes today. Instead, today we can confess our past failures to the Lord, ask for forgiveness, and trust that he has forgiven. {After all, he gave his son for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). None of this is contingent on us having it all together.} Then we can choose to agree Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” We can have confidence of heart and peace knowing that God’s love will hold us fast. He will not let us be consumed as we daily surrender our burdens and sins to him.

Lord, help us to believe that your mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Help us to give over to you the voice of condemnation in our heads and to remember that you, our good good Father, you are FOR us (Romans 8:31). Can we even comprehend how amazing this is? You are not shaking your finger at us for the ways that we failed yesterday. You’re instead standing with outstretched arms, welcoming us to give to you our burdens in exchange for your peace and joy (Psalm 68:19-20). Thank you for allowing us to see our weaknesses to remember that – through Paul – you’ve told us that when we are weak, you are strong (2 Corinthians 12: 9-11). Help us to not allow pride to destroy our ability to surrender to you moment by moment, and forgive us when we do. Give us your joy and the ability to peacefully hand over to you all of our cares and concerns as we watch you write the story of our lives. Become greater in us (John 3:30). Help us to be still and rest in the knowledge of who you are: our creator and redeemer. Build our faith, and help us to choose peace in you. Thank you for sending Jesus our salvation. Do whatever refining work in us that you must so that we can look more like your son in this world. Fill us with your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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