Confess Not Conceal

Confess Not Conceal

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NIV

Jesus promises to forgive us if we confess our sins with a repentant heart. Then why is it so hard for many to admit their sins? One reason is they don’t have a repentant heart. Some have lied to themselves so much about their sins they believe they’re wrongs are right. It’s always what others are doing to them, they’re never wrong. Or they’re never wrong enough to see the need to repent.

Fear keeps many from confessing their sins. They’re horrified of how others will view them if they tell the truth. They’re afraid of destroying relationships if they admit to the evil they’ve done. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to admit to a spouse that you have cheated? Nevertheless it must be done to have friendship with God. But people would rather have the approval of one another than the approval of God who says if we confess and renounce our sins He will show us mercy. When we pretend to be who we are not (live a double life) this is a form of deception and manipulation. And many who live like this call themselves Christians.

If a person doesn’t know the first thing about confession of guilt because of sin how can they be a servant of Christ? Confession of sins with a repentant heart is Jesus 101. This is the very basics of Jesus’ teachings. We see it throughout the Bible. Being convicted of one’s sins and confessing them is the first step to getting to know God. So if someone claims to be a believer but just can’t own up to their sins they are lying. (1 John 1:7-10) They may not know it but Satan has deceived them greatly. He has a strong hold on them.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 KJV

GOD SAYS to confess your faults (sins is also the meaning of the Greek word here) to one another, and pray for one another. And the reward He says is, “THAT YE MAY BE HEALED.” This matches Proverbs 28:13 which says those who confess and renounce their sins find God’s mercy. I don’t know about you but I prefer God’s mercy over how I’m viewed by you or anyone else. So I’m gonna tell on myself! That’s what confession means; to squeal on yourself, not anybody else. I’m gonna share my faults and sins, with my brothers and sisters and ask them to pray for me. God says if I do this I get healed. I want God’s healing. I desire that way more than how I’m viewed by others. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about because you feel the same way too. So let us keep obeying God and be willing to share our mess-ups and mishaps with one another. This also encourages the brethren by letting them know they’re not the only ones going through this struggle with sin. (Galatians 5:17)

People who conceal their sins are operating in deceit. They are walking in the power of darkness. They have opened the door wide for Satan to come in and destroy them. Let us please never make that horrible mistake. The flames of hell are waiting for those who refuse to confess, renounce, and repent of their sins. For those who put good for evil and darkness for light eternal flames in the lake of fire will be their reward. (Revelation 21:8) Then it will be too late to confess. Nothing can be done then. Confess and renounce your wrongs now, and turn from doing evil to doing good NOW, before it is too late!

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TRUE SEEKERS OF GOD

If you are a servant of God who can admit your sins these next comforting passages are for you. Fakers like to use them as a license to sin. (Jude 1:4) But these next verses are truly yours.

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 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.” Romans 7:14-25 NIV

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 NIV

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14 KJV

“He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” Acts 10:43 NLT

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-10 KJV

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Human Anger

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 KJV

What agitates your soul? What can create in us even a violent reaction? These are the things Satan will cause (and God will allow) in our lives. We just read in James that when we’re angry we can’t live for God. That’s why the evil one will constantly try to get us angry. And God allows it giving us the opportunity to learn how to deal with anger His way.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 KJV

God just told us how to deal with anger. We must be very careful to guard our speech. No corrupt words should proceed out of our mouths. Only what is helpful for edifying. We must be kind and tenderhearted to one another. And forgive each other just as God forgave us. This is the playbook for dealing with anger. Reciting it is one thing, execution is another.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 KJV

If I told you that those who ignore God’s counsel on how to deal with anger are literally opening up their homes to the Devil you might say I’m going too far. But not according the definition of the word, “PLACE,” in Ephesians 4:27. The word means to give someone a spot, a space, an inhabited place, occupation, a station, opportunity, power, an occasion for acting, etcetera. Do you see why God tells us to avoid anger?

“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 KJV

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m gonna settle down?” That means they’re looking for a permanent place or situation. That same phrase, “settle down,” is the definition of the word, “RESTETH,” in Ecclesiastes 7:9. Yes, anger, “settles down,” in the BOSOM of fools God says. Now that’s too close for comfort. Just as the Spirit of the Lord can rest upon someone, the spirit of anger (which is Satan) can rest on someone too:

“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” 1 Peter 4:14 NIV

We should avoid human anger like the plague it is. Anger gives Satan and his demons a place in our lives to work their misery and destruction.

FORGIVENESS

I believe forgiveness is the greatest antidote to anger. Being able to let things go also shows we have great understanding:

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” Proverbs 14:29 KJV

Do we really understand just how flawed we are and everyone else is around us because of sin? (Psalm 51:5 Romans 3:23) Then should we really expect everything to go so smoothly? For nobody to do anything that upsets us? On the contrary we should expect to be tempted when it comes to anger. We just read that anger gives the Devil a stronghold in our lives. He is the chief enemy of God and his people. So we better expect situations to arise that cause us to get angry. And sometimes we will become angry rightfully so. ‘Become angry but do not sin,’ is what Ephesians 4:26 is saying. Do not act on angry feelings. And do not, DO NOT, let the sun go down while you are still angry. This means you’ve accepted God’s counsel and worked your feelings of anger out quickly. You’re not a fool who has anger residing (living) in his/her bosom. You can forgive. You are operating in the power of Almighty God! And Satan cannot get his paws on you because you obey God’s word.  🙂

“A man’s good sense makes him slow to wrath, and the overlooking of wrongdoing is his glory.” Proverbs 19:11 BBE

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Running After The Mark

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I PRESS toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 KJV

One of the definitions of the word, “Press,” in the passage above means to run swiftly after, to pursue. That’s how Paul chased the mark for the prize. He didn’t walk towards it. He didn’t jog. He ran to it! When I read this something else came to mind, it was when David slew the giant Goliath. After young David boldly told him, ‘Today God will deliver you Philistines into our hands,’ he then RAN towards the giant with his sling and struck him down. (1 Samuel 17:45-50) I thought to myself, “Hmmm, this dude (David) was a man after God’s own heart. So was the apostle Paul. There’s something here.” And that my dear brothers and sisters I would like to share with you.

One of the things I love about Paul is he said he was not perfect, and he did not attain his goal yet. Paul wasn’t bigheaded. He was still reaching to obtain his goal. Paul well knew that we are saved by faith and not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) He wrote about this throughout his God inspired letters in the New Testament. But he also knew there was more work to be done​ in the Lord’s​ service. That should encourage us. I’m sure when we examine ourseives we sense that there’s more to be done too. That’s great. And God will help us to accomplish His will:

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”  John 15:4 NLT

Jesus’ next words are very encouraging too because He lets us know that WE WILL produce the kind of fruit God wants in our lives as long as we remain in Him:

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, WILL PRODUCE much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NLT

Because we continue to feed on the nutritious sap flowing from the vine which is Jesus, we branches will bear much fruit. It’s going to happen:

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark 4:20 KJV

HOW AM I GONNA DO THAT?

I remember when I first became a believer God showed me something he wanted me to do. It was and still is a very important task. Back then I remember thinking to myself, “How am I gonna do that?” because the job God showed me looked too big for me. I sometimes got discouraged thinking, “I can’t do it.” And God showed me that was the problem: I SAW MYSELF DOING IT, INSTEAD OF HIM DOING IT through me. When we focus on ourselves doing God’s work yes it is impossible. But when we put the focus where it should be, on God, all things are possible. It’s not really us doing anything anyway. It’s all God. We have the privilege of being used as His instruments and fellow workers.

The truth is we must leave our comfort zones. What I mean by that is we must be willing to stretch our muscles of faith and dare to believe in God’s promises like never before. Then action follows. Instead of walking or jogging towards our goal like the apostle Paul and David we find ourselves running towards it. We become excited about doing God’s will. We believe that God’s got it. We’re not looking to ourselves to do it anymore. We’re not afraid anymore. My brothers and sisters when we believe God like this He can use us to do anything!

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 NIV

CONDUCTING BUSINESS FOR THE LORD

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ” Matthew 25:14-30 NLT

If you’re in Jesus Christ you’re a businessperson. I know we may not see ourselves that way but it’s the truth. The King has entrusted us with His goods, and has assigned tasks​ for all of us to do. These assignments are not too difficult. Jesus illustrates this in the passage above. Two servants produced for their master. But the servant who had been given the least responsibility did nothing at all. When asked why he didn’t produce the servant told his master that he was a harsh man and that he was afraid of him, then said, ‘Here, take your money back.’ This servant’s attitude toward his master affected his work ethic. And things did not go well for him. If the servant would have only analyzed himself instead of the faults of his master he could have produced. He would have seen that the king was not being hard or unreasonable with him. He gave him a job he was very capable of doing.

When I read where the servant said he was afraid it reminded me of something I’ve heard people say over the years. I thought about the many folks I heard say they knew that God was calling them but they were afraid that they would mess up. So they never answered the Lord’s call. But ironically they are messing up in the worse way by ignoring God. When we answer the Lord’s call and seek Him he covers all of our mess ups. We have forgiveness of all our sins.

If not careful we can make the same mistake as the wicked servant. Some of us may be harboring​ resentment towards God; thinking what he’s asked us to do is too hard or unfair. For example we may harbor feelings like, “Why do you want me to forgive that person Lord? You saw what they did to me?” “You’re telling me to love this man/woman? That’s impossible! I want a divorce!” “God, why are you pricking me to preach to people more? You know I’m shy?” “Lord I know I’m supposed to love my enemies but these enemies are ridiculous!” The human brain is expert when it comes to making excuses why not to obey God. Let’s hope and pray for ourselves and for one another that we won’t be that way.

WHAT’S MY JOB?

Sometimes we really do want to serve God but we just don’t know what to do. This next verse shows the very next thing we should do:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV

God says if we ask Him he will let us know what He wants us to do. All we have to do is ask and believe, and He will answer us.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NLT

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Do All 3, Accept All 3

Do All 3, Accept All 3

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; CORRECT[1], REBUKE[2] and ENCOURAGE[3]—with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2 NIV

If you’ve ever wondered, “How do I preach God’s word?” He just told us in 2 Timothy 4:2. CORRECT, REBUKE, AND ENCOURAGE, with great patience and careful instruction.

It may seem to some that all we’re to do with God’s word is encourage one another. That sounds really good. I know I like receiving and giving Encouragement. But that is only a part of what 2 Timothy 4:2 says. We’re to correct and rebuke each other if necessary with God’s word too. I just got some heartfelt correction from my son and another friend. It was what I needed to hear. They showed me a serious flaw I need to correct. It stung a bit at first. But soon after their correction felt good to me. Because I saw that they loved me and was not afraid to tell me the truth.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Proverbs 27:9 NIV

CORRECT

If we fear men; what they think of us, etcetera, we won’t say a word. We’re more in love with our feelings than God at this point. What I just said may have corrected somebody. And I know it may not have felt good. But I also know it needed to be said because many of us say we love God and fellow believers but we’re too afraid to lovingly correct them. But if we only knew just how much such fear is harming us and them we would repent.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 NIV

The goal behind godly correction is repentance. When you truly love someone you will be willing to give them correction. If fear keeps us from doing this how can we say we love God or our brothers and sisters when God’s word says, “There is no fear in love?” (1 John 4:18) The great part about serving God is when he shows us where we have fallen short we can repent. Please, please, let us all repent.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV

We’ve talked about giving correction. Here are some passages that deal with accepting it:

“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.” Proverbs 10:17 KJV

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 NIV

“A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 15:5 KJV

“Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Jeremiah 5:3 NIV

If we’re God’s child He is going to correct us. He is going to show us parts of ourselves that aren’t pretty. This is all part of the process of being transformed into the image of His son Jesus Christ. And remember, the beautiful part about this is if we don’t like what we see in the mirror we can change, we can repent. God can give us the power to repent and give us a new heart. We can pray for this like David did:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 KJV

Please don’t hate correction. Please be humble and repent.

REBUKE

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:5-11 KJV

We  just read in Hebrews that God rebukes ALL OF HIS CHILDREN. In fact God himself says that if we are without chastisement from Him we are not His children but are bastards. A rebuke is a stronger form of correction. A rebuke is when God sharply disciplines us. Yes, it hurts a lot. The goal of a rebuke too is repentance. God will sometimes cause and bring us through some very tough circumstances. These are a part of our training to transform us into the image of His son Jesus Christ and get us to repent. Sometimes He may use another believer to Rebuke us. They may sharply call to our attention our unbecoming behavior. Paul had to do this to Peter:

“But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?” Galatians 2:11-14 NLT

Paul called out Peter’s hypocrisy. Peter was a respected leader in God’s church. But his misconduct was affecting others in the church. This had to be dealt with. Good thing Paul loved Peter enough to tell him the truth. Paul did this to help Peter and the others to repent. We know Peter accepted Paul’s rebuke because he spoke well of Paul after this took place.

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as OUR DEAR BROTHER PAUL also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15-16 NIV

If Peter resented Paul for rebuking him he would not have been able to speak well of him afterwards. This was not the case. Peter accepted discipline. Peter repented. If we ignore God’s rebukes we will lose in the short and long run. But if we hang in there no matter how hot the furnace gets we will be molded into who God wants us to be, yeilding the peaceful fruit of righteousness. This is the gift of those who have been trained by God’s discipline.

ENCOURAGE

Who doesn’t need Encouragement? I looked up the Greek definition for the word Encourage in 2 Timothy 4:2 and I saw words like, “To beg, to strive to appease by entreaty, to comfort, strengthen, to console, beseech, to call near, invite, instruct,” etcetera. Yes, Encouragement is all of that and then some. Often correction and rebukes aren’t really necessary, only Encouragement is. Encouragement can be a milder form of correction and is a lot milder than a rebuke. We all need good encouraging words. They give us strength and comfort. I believe these kinds of words should be given as often as possible. To people in the faith and outside. People hear so much negativity these days. How good to be a person who spreads encouraging words that lift people up. Are you and I in the habit of speaking encouragement? Or do we just correct others all the time?

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37 NIV

Jesus says how we use our words is a serious matter. Hence I’d like to share with you something I believe I received from the Lord:

•Always give Encouragement

•Give correction sometimes only when necessary

•Give a rebuke only when absolutely necessary

•Be prayerful and cautious about how to do all 3

•And be willing to accept all 3

I believe Encouragement should be what we do the most. Uplifting one another should become a habit.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 KJV

Let me say this in conclusion: though we know God’s word says at times it is necessary to correct each other, sometimes it’s best to just let things go and cover over each other’s faults and sins. Sometimes all we’re supposed to do is pray for one another. These scriptures explain that better:

“If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.” 1 John 5:16 NIV

“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NIV

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