Making Room

For many American Christians, confession has been given a diminished role in our lives. The idea of “once saved, always saved,” while true, can lead us to think that once we receive Christ and we’re “forgiven: past, present, and future,” confession of sin becomes a moot point.

It is true that once you are a Christ follower, confession is not a means of maintaining salvation. When you commit yourself as a follower of Jesus, you are permanently adopted into the family of God (John 1:12). However, confession of sin does still form a vital part of our spiritual formation.

This week, we’re focusing on the theme of “Come Lord Jesus to Our Hearts.” If we want to pursue lives where our hearts are yielded fully to Jesus, confession is imperative. 1 John 1:7 says, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Walking in the light means not walking in darkness; it means keeping nothing hidden away. Confession is the practice of bringing into the light fears, wounds, sins, etc. that we carry around with us. John tells us there are two results of walking in the light. First, we have fellowship with one another. Of course, it’s not required or even recommended to share all your inmost secrets with anyone and everyone, but the fact is that sharing your true self (sins, fears, personal history, etc.) with trusted friends and mentors increases the depth of your fellowship with them. The deepest level of fellowship is to be truly known and truly loved.

The second result of walking in the light, according to John, is that Jesus’ blood purifies us from sin. When we come to Christ, our sin is removed and Jesus’ righteousness is given to us instead. God sees Christ’s righteousness in us instead of our own unrighteousness. But, just because we’re forgiven in this way doesn’t mean that we never struggle with sin again. That ongoing struggle is what John ties to walking in the light. When we live confessionally, Jesus enables us to gain practical victory over the sin that can so easily hamper our daily walk. When we live confessionally, we empty ourselves of sin and brokenness and make more room for Jesus.
Alliance Pastor and ATS Professor Rob Reimer describes this with the following illustration:

“I travel a lot. When I start a trip my suitcase is full of nice, neat, clean, folded clothes. By the time I am at the end of my trip everything is dirty, and I just throw it all in the suitcase and lug it back home. Before I venture out on my next trip, I have to empty the suitcase or there is no room in there for the clean clothes. Our soul is like a suitcase. Too often people are seeking God for more – more of his peace, more of his presence, more of his love, more of his joy – but there is no room in the suitcase of their soul because it is already full. Until we empty the suitcase of the dirty clothes of our souls, there is no room for all of the freedom and fullness of Christ.”

Confession is a key part of “emptying the suitcase.” Revival starts in our own hearts. If we’re to see Jesus come more fully into our families, our culture, and our world, we need first to make room for him in our hearts. As you begin this new year, I’d encourage you to live in the light with God and with trusted friends or mentors, so that you may experience deeper fellowship with both God and others.

Sean's Picks

Scary Close by Donald Miller - Donald Miller is one of my favorite Christian authors because of how his writing is funny and accessible and at the same time piercing. In line with the theme of today's blog, Scary Close examines what it looks like to truly be yourself with others. From the back of the book: "After decades of failed relationships and painful drama, Donald Miller decided he'd had enough. Impressing people wasn't helping him connect with anyone. He'd built a life of public isolation, yet he dreamed of meaningful relationships. So at forty years old he made a scary decision: to be himself no matter what it cost. Scary Close is a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving."
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Missions Spotlight:
Jennifer Marmolejos (YoungLife)

Would you please continue to pray? As I step into the associate area director role this upcoming year my prayers have been to be a faithful steward, for wisdom and for my vision to increase in what the Lord wants to do next through us (going at His pace, of course)! My thoughts have been filled with questions like what town could be next in pioneering YL? Who can we hire? What are different ways we can keep fellowship and discipleship strong during unprecedented times? How can I care for my leaders and adult team better? What are healthy boundaries I need to revisit and stick with?  These are questions  that come to mind as prayer requests as I step into this new role. I’m SO grateful to not be in it alone and for the Lord's provision in the midst of COVID.  

1 Comment

Megan Bonanno - January 5th, 2021 at 9:13am

Thank you for posting Pastor Sean! I very much enjoy reading these.