“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16
The act of confession has been on my heart lately, especially confessing one to another. In his message on James 5:16 Pastor Jon Courson shared that this kind of confession promotes prayer. He explained that when we think someone is doing ok we are less likely to pray for them. But, when someone shares their sins with us we are compelled to pray for them. This is so true! Not only is there freedom from sin when we speak it out and share our burden with confidence but also comfort when we know that person cares and will pray for us. We then experience the unconditional love of Jesus, which is bondage breaking.
Also, there is comfort in journeying together because, although we may not all struggle with the same sin, we all struggle. Perhaps that’s why God wrote Romans 8:1,2 right after Romans 7:25:
- “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Recently we started talking about selling our home and I confess that I’m struggling with letting go. This home has come to represent stability to me and is the container of many wonderful memories. My emotions see-saw from waves of excitement to sadness every five minutes or so. I know its because I’m not trusting God with our future and I believe he’ll let me down somehow. I know this because it has been a pattern of unbelief in the past and the feelings are very familiar. God, however, is rooting out what Satan has planted and asking me to trust Him once again. Our home is a good gift from the LORD but it is not what defines me as a person and certainly not where my joy is found. However, the feelings of insecurity and fear knock on the door of my heart because of the chaos of my youth. Ironically, the process of de-personalizing the house may also be the very thing that enables me to leave it at the altar and trust God with all my heart.
Fortunately, I have learned to speak out my sinful thoughts, feelings and beliefs, sharing them with my husband and friends who lift it all up to God. After all, we are all one body and all suffer when one suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). Why then are we tempted to pretend like everything is ok, to wear a mask and keep secret what God says to confess? Self preservation at work in the flesh, the pride of life, and shame are all strong motivators for hiding. It is also validated by the enemy and anesthetizes (deprives of feeling or awareness) pain. Who doesn’t want to avoid pain? Admittedly, some confession can be gut-wrenching. It requires a level of vulnerability that is uncomfortable. However, without this kind of confession we are isolated, spiritual loners suffering in silence and look forward to heaven not because Jesus is there but because then we will finally be free from the pain. I’ve learned that telling someone my deepest fears and struggles frees me from the power of sin. In contrast, when there is no one to cry out, “Abba, Father!” on my behalf when I’m broken it is easy to slip into utter hopelessness.
Sadly, some might say the burden is too heavy for another person to share but this is another lie from the enemy. A burden shared is immediately half the weight but when carried to Jesus together, cast onto Him, is actually light! Therefore, I am grateful for the privilege to be able to approach the throne of God with boldness and pour out my heart to the LORD. I am even more in awe that God uses me, a broken vessel, to be a conduit of His love with my sisters in Christ and that they too are that for me. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need… together.