Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. - James 5:16
All the promises in scripture about prayer start where this verse starts ~ confess your sins. God wants to do a mighty work in our hearts, He wants to heal us and grow us more into the image of His son, He wants to fulfill all His promises to us, and He wants to answer our prayers ~ but that process begins with humble confession. God can't do the work He needs to do in a prideful heart, we must be in a position of humility and tenderness, and then He can move mountains. To do the real work in our hearts, confession must be specific and in totality - I have to work to guard my heart from the general confessions, such as 'forgive me for being prideful'.
My prideful heart has such a tendency to lie to me by covering my sin so well that I can't even see it - my mind makes excuses for my actions or words, and when I sit down in prayer, there are times when I cannot think of a specific incident I need to ask forgiveness for. But I have learned to sit in prayer with Him for awhile, asking for Him to reveal my sin to me, to take my blinders off, and He always does. He gives me a peek at my life from His perspective, and there I see my sin - it's often like a punch in the gut, but it's always there. Don't fool yourself into thinking your good enough - if we want Him to continue to grow us, and we want to grab a hold of all the beautiful promises He gives us about prayer, if we ever want to get ahead of the struggle, then we must first humble ourselves - we must get low and confess our sins out loud. And our confession must be heartfelt and sincere - there is pain attached with truly confessing our sin. Grieving how our sin affects God and those in our lives is part of the process of confession. Merely saying the words, yet going back to the same patterns of thinking is not confession. Likewise, if we find we are confessing the same sin over and over, then we need to take a hard look at whether of not we are truly confessing.
He doesn't tell us just to confess our sins in this verse, He tells us we must confess our sins to one another. At first glance, that may seem contradictory to other places in scripture where we are told to confess our sins to God.
He tells us to confess to one another because He knows us so well. He knows we need trusted friends who love us and hold us accountable to the sins we confess. He knows when we confess our sins out loud to another, we are admitting our weakness in a more authentic way, and when we come along side one another to pray for and encourage each other as we struggle to overcome sin in our lives, a bond forms that is stronger than most on this earth. Those are the relationships that were meant to exist from the very beginning. Trusted, encouraging, deep bonds between His children that cannot be broken.
We cannot overcome sin in isolation - that's not how He created us. He created us to live in community with one another. So why don't we confess our sins to one another? I think it's primarily because we don't want to be judged by others when we share the deepest, hardest sins we struggle with. But that, in itself, is sin, isn't it? Fear of man - we fear more what our Brothers or Sisters are going to think of us than what God clearly calls us to do. I want to be in a community with people that is trusting, and encouraging, and supportive, and will hold me accountable so that together we can stand firm on our faith and defeat the enemy.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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