“I heard Him say, “Go there and speak” But I ran away, boarded a ship Like the Titanic, I was bold. I was wise in my way, in my eyes. Unbeknown to me, I leaked and was weak. I had betrayed myself, my soul sold.
And down I went, drowning to a point of no return. Then I remembered my fault And cried out to Him. In the depths I raised a hymn of praise, I worshipped my Maker for His mercy, His wisdom, power, sovereignty. Like Paul and Silas, I was not silenced, Even in the rain, pain and grave.
He was moved, quickly forgave Commanded an earthquake To wash me ashore. And there I was, Even with a pillow Under my head. How loving, how caring!
Our Lord Jesus, by his death, did not purchase a right to a part of us only, but to the entire man. He contemplated in his passion the sanctification of us wholly, spirit, soul, and body; that in this triple kingdom he himself might reign supreme without a rival. It is the business of the newborn nature which God has given to the regenerate to assert the rights of the Lord Jesus Christ. My soul, so far as thou art a child of God, thou must conquer all the rest of thyself which yet remains unblest; thou must subdue all thy powers and passions to the silver sceptre of Jesus’ gracious reign, and thou must never be satisfied till he who is King by purchase becomes also King by gracious coronation, and reigns in thee supreme.
Seeing, then, that sin has no right to any part of us, we go about a good and lawful warfare when we seek, in the name of God, to drive it out. O my body, thou art a member of Christ: shall I tolerate thy subjection to the prince of darkness? O my soul, Christ has suffered for thy sins, and redeemed thee with his most precious blood: shall I suffer thy memory to become a storehouse of evil, or thy passions to be firebrands of iniquity? Shall I surrender my judgment to be perverted by error, or my will to be led in fetters of iniquity? No, my soul, thou art Christ’s, and sin hath no right to thee.
Be courageous concerning this, O Christian! be not dispirited, as though your spiritual enemies could never be destroyed. You are able to overcome them—not in your own strength—the weakest of them would be too much for you in that; but you can and shall overcome them through the blood of the Lamb. Do not ask, “How shall I dispossess them, for they are greater and mightier than I?” but go to the strong for strength, wait humbly upon God, and the mighty God of Jacob will surely come to the rescue, and you shall sing of victory through his grace.
“Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long.” Psalm 32:3 (CEV)
It’s not just swallowing too much food that’ll torpedo your health in 2014. Swallowing your sin can have even more disastrous results.
One of the healthiest choices you can make for 2014 is to receive the forgiveness of God. Many people start the New Year carrying around a stinky garbage sack of sin. Carrying around that sack won’t just make you ineffective for serving Jesus; it’ll ruin your health, too.
The Bible teaches in Psalm 32:3-5: “Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat. So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, ‘I’ll tell the LORD each one of my sins.’ Then you forgave me and took away my guilt” (CEV).
In fact an October 2013 study by scientists at Princeton University and the University of Waterloo scientifically verified what David said centuries earlier: Feelings of being physically “weighed down” by guilt are real.
God has given us a foolproof method for relief from those soul and body-destroying feelings of guilt: repentance. How do you do that?
1. Make a moral inventory. Psalm 138:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (LB). In other words, you start by grabbing a pencil and paper and asking God to bring to mind your sin. Take your time. Don’t rush it. Be specific.
2. Accept the blame. The greatest holdup to healing is you. Don’t rationalize it. Don’t minimize it. You may not own 100 percent of the blame, but accept the 10 percent of the blame that’s yours.
3. Ask for forgiveness. Believe that God will forgive you. Ask him to forgive you based on what he promises in the Bible (1 John 1:9). Don’t beg. Don’t bargain. Just believe that God is able and willing to forgive you.
Don’t put yourself at risk of spiritual heart disease. God wants to use you in 2014. Come clean about your sin. Start over.
Then see what God can do through you in 2014.
Talk It Over
• Make a list of sins you’ve never confessed to God. Accept the blame for your failures, and ask the Lord for forgiveness for each sin on your list.
• What keeps you from confessing your sins from God?
• Are there some sins you struggle with confessing more than others? Why?
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.” (James 5:16 NCV)
People don’t go to war by themselves. It would be a suicide mission. Someone has to have your back.
You need a battle buddy.
The same is true in the spiritual battles we all face. You can’t go to war against lustful thoughts, dishonesty, addictions, and fear by yourself. You’ll be doomed to fail.
If all you want is to be forgiven, admit your sin and brokenness to God. If you want to make a change, admit it to someone else.
Revealing your sin is the beginning of healing. You don’t have to admit your sin to everyone. But you need to admit it to someone. You need one person who’ll love you unconditionally, accept you completely, and pray for you constantly. You need someone of the same gender to be open and honest with.
The Bible says in James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen” (NCV).
When you confess your sins to someone else, you open the relief valve and take the pressure off. Suddenly, the boogieman isn’t so big.
Often sin is a cycle. You start out humbly asking God for help, so he gives you the power to make it. After about six months of success, you start getting prideful. Then, you fall. And, in humility again, you ask God for help. If you could stay in that spirit of humility, you’d be good. But pride always returns.
You can’t kick that kind of cycle without friends who’ll pray for you, care for you, encourage you, and keep you on track. When success comes, they’ll help you keep your perspective so your humility stays in check.
That’s why local churches are so important. But you can attend many churches for years and never put yourself in a situation where you know others and are known by others. Make the effort to find a small group of believers in a local church with whom you can be open and honest.
To think you can quit a bad habit without being honest about it with others is simply a cop out. It never works. You guarantee failure when you do that.
Talk It Over
– What sin in your life do you need to confess to another person?
– To whom in your life can you confess your sin?
– What frightens you about revealing your sin to someone else?
“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.”Psalm 19:13
Such was the prayer of the “man after God’s own heart.” Did holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, “Keep me back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin.” Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May the grace of God put the bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it rush not into mischief. What might not the best of us do if it were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in providence and in grace!
The psalmist’s prayer is directed against the worst form of sin —that which is done with deliberation and wilfulness. Even the holiest need to be “kept back” from the vilest transgressions. It is a solemn thing to find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome sins. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
”What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do. The whitest robes, unless their purity be preserved by divine grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots. Experienced Christian, boast not in your experience; you will trip yet if you look away from him who is able to keep you from falling. Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, “We shall never sin,” but rather cry, “Lead us not into temptation.”
There is enough tinder in the heart of the best of men to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing uncleanness? Hazael said, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?” and we are very apt to use the same self-righteous question. May infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence.
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.
Attentively observe THE INSTRUCTIVE SIMILITUDE: our sins are like a cloud. As clouds are of many shapes and shades, so are our transgressions. As clouds obscure the light of the sun, and darken the landscape beneath, so do our sins hide from us the light of Jehovah’s face, and cause us to sit in the shadow of death. They are earth-born things, and rise from the miry places of our nature; and when so collected that their measure is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Alas! that, unlike clouds, our sins yield us no genial showers, but rather threaten to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. O ye black clouds of sin, how can it be fair weather with our souls while ye remain? Let our joyful eye dwell upon THE NOTABLE ACT of divine mercy-“blotting out.” God Himself appears upon the scene, and in divine benignity, instead of manifesting His anger, reveals His grace: He at once and for ever effectually removes the mischief, not by blowing away the cloud, but by blotting it out from existence once for all. Against the justified man no sin remains, the great transaction of the cross has eternally removed His transgressions from him. On Calvary’s summit the great deed, by which the sin of all the chosen was for ever put away, was completely and effectually performed. Practically let us obey THE GRACIOUS COMMAND, “return unto me.”Why should pardoned sinners live at a distance from their God? If we have been forgiven all our sins, let no legal fear withhold us from the boldest access to our Lord. Let backslidings be bemoaned, but let us not persevere in them. To the greatest possible nearness of communion with the Lord, let us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, strive mightily to return. O Lord, this night restore us!