Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Last week Becky directed our thoughts toward the all-knowing God. Lifting our hands in praise to the God who knows all brings us to our knees in confession that He is God and we are not!
In Psalm 139, the psalmist expounds on God’s full knowledge of his every move and word, his location whether in darkness or in light, and his entire being from birth to each day following. After he praises God for His knowledge he turns to confess his hatred of those who are against his Lord. After which he asks God to search thoroughly his heart, mind and actions for any offensive attitude, thought or behavior. Frederick Buechner said, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell [God] anything [God] doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.” If we never take the time to ask God to show us where we have fallen short in our relationship with Him and others, our hearts will never experience true brokenness and the close connection to Him that confession brings.
Confession is to agree with God that sin has been committed. Suzanna Wesley defined sin as “Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish for spiritual things then it is sin for you, however, innocent it may be in itself.” As I practice meditating on God’s Word He is faithful to reveal and convict me of sin in my life. The author of Hebrews says God’s Word is able to penetrate our hearts as it judges our thoughts and attitudes and all things are visible to God to whom we must give an account. Once convicted by His Word, I make it my practice to do as pastor and evangelist F.B. Meyer taught, “Confess sin instantly.” If we remain silent about our sin and put off our confession, David writes in Psalm 32 that our strength fails, physically and spiritually. If we confess our sins to God who is just and faithful, He forgives us, cleans us up and draws us ever closer to His side. (1 John 1:9)
This past December I hosted our family Christmas party. I had planned activities, food, and even a service project for our party and as the day approached my mind was overwhelmed with all the details. A few days prior to the party my daughter-in-law’s grandpa passed away and I reached out to her father and step-mother, but failed to spend time ministering to my daughter-in-law as I was wrapped up in Christmas party planning. The day of the party arrived and in the midst of all the activity I noticed my daughter-in-law was uncharacteristically quiet. It wasn’t until the party was over that I realized the obvious – she was grieving the loss of her grandpa. I had really messed up! I confessed to the Lord that I had been self-focused and driven rather than looking out for the needs of my precious daughter-in-law.
I woke very early the next morning and couldn’t go back to sleep as my mind filled with remorse over my lack of compassion and care. A couple of days prior to the party, I had made note of a verse in my journal, “He sends his word and melts them, he stirs up his breezes and the water flows” (Psalm 147:18) and wrote out my prayer: “Oh Lord continue to send your Word to speak to me. Melt any icy layers within my heart and may the living water flow.” The Lord had sent His Word, and melted my heart. I immediately contacted my daughter-in-law confessing to her I failed to acknowledge her grief over the loss of her grandpa whom she loved so dearly. She quickly responded by saying my words meant a lot to her. Suddenly the Living Water flowed, washing over my heart with His forgiveness, refreshment and rest.
I pray you will begin the practice of asking God to search your heart and mind as you read His Word. Let it bring conviction to your heart, confession to your lips and refreshment to your soul.
Are you practicing confession?
Read Christel’s story of how she found “Mercy in Messiness” through God’s Word and forgiveness.