When you hear the word “confession,” what do you think of? My first thought is always spewing out my sins or just repeating how sorry I am for something…like all those nasty things I think, say and do every day. And because I often don’t want to admit to those issues in my life, I rarely confess to them. But God calls us to. So how do I begin to have a heart that sees my need for confession? For me, it’s looking at it a little differently (well, it’s really God teaching me how to!!). And He used the Bible study called Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break to do that.
This week in the study, it focuses on Nehemiah 9 (I mentioned this chapter in my last post on adoration too!). The heading of this chapter in my Bible is “The Israelites Confess Their Sins.” So now we know what’s about to come! The chapter even starts out with them in sackcloths confessing their sins and the wickedness of their fathers. And when you google the definition of confession it says, “an admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about.” Now that does NOT excite me about confession. But thankfully God is teaching me that it is so much more than just confessing sins. In fact, the Hebrew word for confession is defined, “to express praise, give thanks, extol, make a public confession, make an admission.” Now that I can get more excited about! I love this quote in the Bible study…
Confession isn’t confined to expressing sins. We can also confess God’s name, our faith, or a truth. When we confess, we are simply agreeing with God or telling the truth about a matter. Sometimes our confession will be about our sin, other times it will be about God’s goodness, majesty, faithfulness, compassion.
Do you see what this does? Instead of me slinking away from God in guilt and shame, it allows me to come to Him and just speak the truth and admit what He already knows. So instead of praying, “Forgive me for XYZ,” it looks more like, “Lord, I confess I’m angry. The kids were just wearing me down with their whining. I know you call me to be patient with them because you have been patient with me. Remind me how much of a blessing they are and give me the strength for the rest of the day.” It’s more of a conversation for me, not a ritual. And it’s not just confession of sin, but confession of who God is and what He has done for me.
Today’s virtue to pray: HEART OF CONFESSION
They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. (Nehemiah 9:3)
So let’s pray our kids grow to have a heart of confession…a heart to talk to God and tell Him what they’re dealing with and how they feel, a heart that tells Him the truth.