THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: CONFESSION

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’ll be learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns will post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties. But rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

CONFESSION: Sharing our deepest weaknesses and failures with God and trusted others, so that we may enter into God’s grace and mercy and experience His ready forgiveness. ~ The Life With God Bible

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.~ James 5:16

The Spiritual Discipline of Confession is a difficult one for most of us. We’d rather hide our sins and weaknesses from ourselves, our friends and God. We think if we ignore them maybe they will go away.

We’re Not Alone In Our Sin

We often believe we’re alone in our sin. Satan whispers in our ear that we can’t possibly tell our secret to anyone. We feel if someone knows the truth about us they won’t like or love us anymore. This is when we need a friend or counselor who will listen to our heart in confidence without judgement.

“We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.” ~ Richard Foster

Release Your Burden to God

When we’re living under the burden of hidden sins, it holds a power over us. Rather than carrying this burden alone we must ignore the devil’s taunts and cry out to God and share our weaknesses, pain and heartache.

If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. ~ 1 John 1:9

We mustn’t be afraid of offending God with our confession. After all He already knows about it. Confession is more for us than for God. It is a great opportunity for deep internal and spiritual growth.

*For a good confession three things are necessary:

      1. An Examined Conscience: Invite God to move on our hearts and show us where we need His healing and forgiving touch.
      2. A Sorrowful Heart: A deep regret at having offended the heart of our Father. Being sorrowful in emotions without a godly sorrow will destroy our confession.
      3. A Determination to Avoid Future Sin: In confession we seek the will to be delivered from sin. We must desire to be ruled by God. If we do not desire it, ask for the desire to desire it. This desire itself is a gift of grace from God.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. ~ Philippians 2:13 

Following the steps above. Prayerfully examine your heart and conscience. As you listen to this beautiful song by Chris Tomlin lean in to the Lord. Ask Him to give you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. God is here for you.

*These three points on Confession are taken from Richard Foster’s excellent book Celebration of Discipline.

AVOID IDLE LAUGHTER

In observance of my Benedictine Monastic practices, on the last Friday of each month in 2019 we’re walking Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility. With each step we come closer to our spiritual transformation and the perfect love of God.

 

The tenth step of humility is that a monk is not quick to laughter.  ~ The Rule of Benedict

A fool raises their voice when they laugh. ~ Sirach 21:20

 

As Christian believers and Christ followers we should be cultivating an atmosphere where all people can feel safe. Much of today’s culture, media and entertainment is harsh and brutal, even bullying, when it comes to humor. Television and movies use sarcasm and vulgarity dressed up as humor that bring harm to various groups of people.

Words that harm others are not humorous.

Humor is about seeing the lighter side of life. It should be used to lift us up out of troubles and weaknesses, not beat us down into them.

Hiding behind hurtful words, the prideful will use negative words to lash out at others while trying to avoid their own internal pain. These arrogant vulgar jokes somehow make them feel better about themselves when they tear others down.

Saint Benedict taught his community of monks not to be quick or loud in their laughter. Step 10 of Humility invites us to take our humor seriously. We must guard our laughter, taking care not to use it in hurtful ways. When someone falls down or has taken a turn for the worse in their life, we mustn’t make light of or laugh at their troubles.

We mustn’t delight in or find humor in the pain of others.

Just like it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, so too our kindness toward others can lead them to God. Let’s cultivate an atmosphere around us that invites others to Christ with our words and behavior.

Contemplate the kindness and love of God in your life with this beautiful song by Chris Tomlin.