The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
How long has it been, do you think, since you really drew near to God? It’s something that just about all of us would say we want, yet somehow it seems like finding a person who’s really doing it, really drawing near to God… well it’s a special thing.
I think one of the biggest things that can stop us from drawing near is unconfessed sin. That’s a pretty stark phrase—those two words—but it gets at something personal and real.
It starts as this uneasy feeling, a vague anxiety. When you think about prayer, or the Bible, or going to church, you feel a sort of urge to escape. A fear of being found out. You can check for it now. When you think of really opening your heart to God, spending time with the Holy Spirit in prayer, is there a sense of peace, or an impulse to hide? If it’s the latter, then what is it you’re afraid of having found out? Whatever it is, don’t let it linger at the level of vague anxiety, or your prayer of confession will end up being, “Dear God, I’m sorry that I kind of feel guilty (and I don’t want to think about why).”
Ask yourself, “What did I do, specifically, that’s causing this feeling?” Do you know what it is? Here’s the important part: name it to God. Just mumbling a political prayer, “mistakes were made,” isn’t going to clear things up. Besides, God is all-knowing; he already knows what it is. The last thing he wants is this unconfessed sin standing as a barrier between you and him. After all, the reason he sent his son was to get rid of that barrier.
But in order to access the benefits of what Jesus did for you in his death as your substitute, you need to confess. Not like a child confessing something to a parent, afraid that when they do they’ll only get in trouble. God already knows! The trouble is already there, in the form of that barrier. 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
So let’s do this together. “Dear God, I’m sorry that I ______. Please forgive me, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now… how do you feel about prayer, the Bible, and going to church?
With you for Jesus,
p.s. This Sunday we’re back into the Gospel of John—chapter 18, verses 1-18. Read it and think about it some time before then, so you can get that much more out of our teaching time together!