Spiritual Discipline // CONFESSION
By Chris Bowlby
Pastor Dave Metsker taught us on Sunday that the distinctive of Moderation, or being “middle of the road” is not a liability, or the simple choice, but rather it is the way of love that Jesus followers are inviting to pursue. It’s incredibly difficult! We are the product of a culture and a society that has created a dichotomy of “Us vs. Them”.
Growing up I loved playing baseball. I spent most Spring, Summers, and Falls playing ball with my friends all around the Pacific Northwest. It moved from a game, to a hobby, to quite frankly, an obsession. Hundreds of ground balls, hours of hitting off a tee or soft tossing, and session after session of throwing bullpens were the hallmark of my pursuit of proficiency. I wanted to win. I wanted to be better than anyone I would face. After high school I did what all washed up athletes do; I tried to relive my glory days by playing Men’s League slow pitch softball!
It was fine at first, but I quickly began to see my competitive streak come alive. Being competitive isn’t necessarily wrong, but it became an issue of character. I would get frustrated with others not playing well, talk down to myself if I didn’t perform like some a decade younger, and would want to destroy the other team if a call didn’t go our way. It started to become an issue of discipleship – as much as I enjoyed playing softball I did not like what it was doing to my soul. Eventually I switched over to playing Coed Recreational League softball: less pressure and more fun.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly we can begin to see others as the enemy. The other team was the enemy because they were opposing us. My teammates were the enemy when they didn’t live up to my expectations, and I was the enemy when I couldn’t perform like I used to. Jesus had this to say about our posture with those who are our “enemies.”
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.Luke 6:35–36 (NLT)
Jesus also said,
12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:12–13 (NLT)
Are you prone to see other people, political parties, denominations, or socio-economic status’ the enemy? Confession is a BEAUTIFUL gift. It allows our heart to be redirected and to return to the narrow path of Jesus and the narrow path of moderation.
- Take some time and write a list of enemies. Who bothers you? Who causes you to become frustrated when you think about them.
- Enemies are always a big and gnarly hatred. Sometimes it’s more subtle. Allow God to soften your heart as you confess your animosity.
- Tell someone. No seriously – it’s easy to lock this away, but community is a gift. Allow the act of confession to put a dagger in the plan of the shame the Enemy has for you.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.1 John 1:8–10 (NLT)
Allow God to illuminate the parts of your heart that are difficult to process. Take the time necessary for God to move past our surface into the deep recesses of our soul.