Spiritual Discipline // CONFESSION
By Isaac Hovet
To be Pentecostal is to be incredibly brave. The Holy Spirit is God himself coming to live and dwell in our hearts and lives. It is consuming. He is consuming. He seeks to occupy every inch of our hearts. As Paul tells us,
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20
But, we don’t. Good Christians, new Christians, long time Christians, flailing Christians, determined Christians, fading Christians. Young, old, middle aged. Bible literate and bible weak. Every Christian fails and taints the very living—room of the Holy Spirit: your body.
I will admit it if you do.
But you don’t, so I won’t.
Another meeting, another veiled lie.
Another day, this one a shade darker.
When does it all go black?
Is there a light?
I will light the light if you do…
As Paul writes as he evaluates his own propensity to do wrong or refuse to do right says, “what a wretched man I am…” (Romans 7). But, there is a way out—to confess our sinfulness.
Confession is a difficult Discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.—Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
Aha, you are not alone. I have failed. I have lusted, stolen, lied, covered up, snuck, betrayed, gossipped, over-indulged and much more.
You feel sick when you do the thing that you shouldn’t. It sits with you deep in your gut. Like a belly swollen with vomit. It needs to come out. You need to spiritually retch. Tomorrow morning would be brighter if you did bow and flush the garbage of yesterday away.
But you don’t, so I won’t…
Maybe the only way to get out of that endless loop of holding it all in is to go first.
If I will, then maybe you will.
Go first today. Be brave and honest and vulnerable and wretchedly real. Bring someone else into your scary shame.
Let them hold your hair for you as you puke, as you allow your spiritual muscles to be violently thrown into reverse. Those muscles will perform their function—to get you freed from the bile of yesterday’s sin.
And, that lovely someone next to you will likely look on with compassion. Of course your vomit will be ugly, but all Christians are called to be empowered by the Spirit to be that gentle, kind, loving, patient and loyal nurse beside us. Give it a go—it’s not as bad as you may think.
- Decide to confess.
- Call someone you think you can trust.
- Set a time to talk more deeply.
- Write it out if you need to.
- Receive forgiveness.
- Enjoy freedom