I cannot believe that this week, we will already be in November. At the beginning of this semester, I remember saying in discipleship that I had very few expectations for what my last year at Cal would look like. But, you guys, God is so full of surprises. This semester has been radical for me, and I have experienced Jesus in new ways that I never could have imagined. I think a large part of this transformation, however, has come as a result of the practice of regular confession.
A little background on what confession is… we know that our salvation is the act of confessing our sins to God and repenting of that sin by living for Him rather than ourselves. “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
Obviously confession is a pretty big deal, but it’s not supposed to stop there. Regularly bringing our struggles with sin to God in prayer is essential if we want to grow to become more like Christ, and having accountability with leaders and close friends is also incredibly powerful in aiding that sanctification.
I have noticed two common challenges I face that have hindered confession in my life in the past.
1. I have seen that in Christian churches and communities, there is very often a culture that idolizes the idea of perfection, and puts “good Christians” on a pedestal. As much as the “come as you are” ideology is preached, it is sometimes not embraced. This can prevent vulnerability and honesty when we talk about our sin, but we must remember that every single one of us is broken, and Jesus has already lived the perfect life that we could not. If we try to fix ourselves before we come to God, we will never come at all.
2. Another issue that I have experienced, especially this year, was being blind to certain sin in my life because I was not aware of how some of my actions affected others. But praise be to God that I have some seriously faithful people in my life that (lovingly) brought to my attention some of these practices in my life. I pray that Berkeley Cru is a community that is not complacent with sin, and is willing to call out sin when we see it (but always with grace). Awareness of sin is the first step of confession, and reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and community accountability are necessary in fostering that recognition of sin.
But this semester, by the grace of God, I have been overcoming those two challenges in my life, and have been verbally bringing my sin before the Lord and to accountable friends and leaders. Let me tell you, the fullness of God is revealed in confession. And his forgiveness is so abundant for us. God desires so much that we bring our whole selves to him in prayer and in sacrifice. Many times I have held on tightly to parts of my life in fear that I would have to give them up. But in reality, by giving up more of myself, I have learned who God truly created me to be. Confession leads me to grow in holiness, and leads me to become more and more like Christ. Walking in the light of Jesus our Savior is of such surpassing worth to hiding in the shame and guilt of sin. Confession is freedom from the power of sin, and it allows us to have deep fellowship with God and with our brothers and sisters.
So please, friend, don’t set limits on how deep you are willing to let God into your life like I did. His grace is so much more powerful than the sin that we try in vain to hide from him. So let’s make Berkeley Cru a place where we feel comfortable presenting ourselves as we are, and a place where iron sharpens iron. Let’s get real with ourselves and our community in confession so that we can rejoice together in how faithful the Lord is to forgive us. Let’s invite God into our whole lives, not just parts of it, so that he can transform us in ways we never even imagined. Let’s lead lives of confession. It’s so worth it.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9