Friday, 30 April 2021

How to Get Real & Embrace the Gift of Apologising to God

 'If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' ~1 John 1:9 (ESV)


Okay, I’ve put it off long enough. Stalling, polishing excuses, justifying my delay. But it’s time.

Time to talk about my sin. To look it squarely in the face and accept it for what is, the whole low-down, dirty shame of it.

Did I pique your interest?

Yeah, I know. It’s always easier, albeit slightly uncomfortable, to hear about the sins of others. Some, you feel sorry for, and may even whisper a prayer for, others you may judge . . . secretly. But the real discomfort, the kind that makes you want to crawl out of your skin and hide, comes when you have to address your own sin.

Welcome to phase three of my series -  The Five B’s of Living, Breathing, Beautiful Prayer: Bow before the LORD. Missed the first two posts? You can read Phase one here and Phase two here. Phase one is all about beholding God by recognizing who we are praying to - the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of the universe who mercifully desires a relationship with us. Phase two discussed why blessing God is absolutely good for us and just how we go about doing that. Now, here in phase three, we’ll look at coming clean before God and the astonishing gift when tears of sorrow and whispers of thanks meet together in confession.

But don’t let the phases fool you, this is not a list to follow in a prescribed order, but rather an encouragement to develop the heart posture that embraces a lifestyle of prayer in every circumstance, in other words to help us ‘pray without ceasing’ according to God’s will for us.

So, let’s get back to the issue of my sin and the reason it’s sometimes hard for me to talk about it with God. You see, sometimes, the real me doesn’t meet with the real God. Rather, I conjure up an image of Him much more like me than He really is. For example, If I were Him, I would be fed up with hearing how many times I was sorry for speaking harshly or unkindly or acting in an unloving way. After the 100th time, I would be out of both patience and mercy. With a God like that, it’s no wonder I would shy away or hide behind a veil of excuses, especially when I’m coming before Him with the 200th transgression.  With His mercy exhausted, I would be destined for His judgment, rightly deserved judgment, I might add. With the veiled me coming before my imagined God, I would sit wallowing in the pit of my sin, ashamed, embarrassed, paralyzed by fear, unable to move forward.

But thankfully, my God is not like me.

Please don’t misunderstand me. God takes sin SERIOUSLY. If you’re ever in doubt about the gravity of sin start with the book of Leviticus, in all its gory, bloody, fiery, animal-sacrificing seriousness. Just imagining the scene of the sin offerings is enough to make me feel physically ill. The sights, the sounds, the smells, but most of all the gnawing belief that I would keep messing up and never be able to get in or stay in a right relationship with God. Yes, sin is serious, and I could never get out from under it on my own.

But thankfully, God made a Way for me.

And this is why I can be real. This is why I can lift my eyes from the slough of my sin and stare into the sacrificial, debt-paying, life-giving love of God. By giving His perfect life for my blemished one, Jesus Christ offered (once and for all) the bloody sacrifice for my sin that I could not pay. With His blood sprinkled on me, I am now able to approach God guilt-free and call Him Father, accepting His forgiveness and His power to live for Him. It’s a beautiful exchange.  



This is why I don’t need to come before God pretending my sin is not there or it’s not as bad as it is. The truth is, I am worse than I think I am. God knows it and deep down I know it. But because of this beautiful exchange, I can come just as I am, with all of my sins. I can be deeply sorrowful and genuinely repentant for my sin and overjoyed by the love of God all at the same time.

But enough about me. 

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What about you? 

Do you talk about your sin with God? Is it easy for you to be real or do you struggle to acknowledge the cost of continual sin in your life? Do you confess some but not others? Perhaps worried that they are just too bad. My prayer is that you would grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’ and that this knowledge will drive you to your knees confessing your sin before God and accepting His gift of forgiveness. The sweetness of this restored relationship is almost indescribable. 

May grace and peace be multiplied to you,

Carlie

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Next up is phase four of the Five B's of Living, Breathing, Beautiful Prayer. If you don't want to miss it, go ahead and subscribe to my blog, that way it'll be sent directly to your inbox when it's published. As a bonus, you'll get a free printable of my Live Amazed Intercessory Prayer Journal which outlines all the phases and helps us to be intentional in our prayer time. 

 

22 comments:

  1. It is difficult for us humans to fully grasp eternity - eternal life. If we could better understand that, we could better comprehend just how magnificent the gift of the cross is. All that Jesus has given us should lead us to appreciate Him more. That should cause us to not dishonor The Giver of such a precious gift by acting disobediently. Numerous times in Scripture it says that our true show of love is our obedience to Most High God.

    The inspiration to express our love - our obedience - should be by our placing appropriate value on the enormous, marvelous gift of Jesus and what He did for us through the cross.

    Thank you, Carlie, for sharing with us.

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    1. Nann, you're so right, the more we value the enormous, marvelous gift of Jesus, the more our hearts turn towards grateful obedience. Sin no longer becomes a way of life for us. I am so grateful that God in His mercy offers a continual flow of forgiveness for those times when we stumble as we are prone to do. He is so gracious and loving!

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  2. Thank you for this reminder. You are so right…it’s often so hard to talk to God about our sin. He already knows and Jesus’ blood covered it for us. What great news to remember this Monday morning.

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    1. Wonderful news to celebrate indeed! I'm so thankful! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Maria!

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  3. Carlie, Thank you so much for this wonderful encouragement this morning. I especially like when you talked about our reluctance to come before him with the same sin for the 200th time. I have definitely felt this at times and deeply appreciate your reminder about the depth of his love even in this.

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    1. You are welcome, Patti! It's reminder I needed as well. Blessings and hugs to you!

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  4. I like to have confessions and receiving His forgiveness. He already knows what I think, feel and do. I feel like confession helps me to acknowledge and take responsibility for what I think, feel and do. It takes trust to know we can approach Him and receive His love and forgiveness. Thank you for this beautiful post ...

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    1. Indeed, Donna, it does take trust to approach God and be confident of His love and forgiveness. So grateful that He gives such faith to us. Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

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  5. I love this, Carlie. I had a time when God revealed a specific sin to me that I wasn't even aware of by showing me an image of myself standing in the Garden picking the fruit and taking a bite. It changed my relationship with me. Being humbled and receiving His grace . . . I'm overwhelmed by His love! Blessings and hugs!

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    1. Thank you, Deb! And thank you for sharing that personal example. God is so rich in mercy and so personal in the way He directs us and draws us to Himself. Yes, I'm overwhelmed by His love, too. Blessings, my friend.

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  6. "But because of this beautiful exchange, I can come just as I am, with all of my sins." Amen! And I am so deeply grateful for this exchange!

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    1. Me too, Joanne, me too! Blessings to you as you enjoy the benefits of this beautiful exchange! Thanks for visiting!

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  7. Carlie, Thank you for this blessed lesson. So beautifully spoken. Blessings.
    ~Selah~

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    1. Thank you, Paula! I'm grateful that you enjoyedd it.

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  8. Carli, thank you for this lesson, I do so struggle coming to God "just as I am", and being honest about my sin. I needed your encouragement today.

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    1. You're not alone, Donna, so many of us share in the struggle. But God is so rich in mercy and continually welcomes us. Because of that, we can run eagerly into His arms.

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  9. We do tend to see God as a bigger version of our self. So thankful he is not. I don't think we will ever really be able to comprehend his love for us. Grasping just a little of his love can make us more willing to take our sins to him.

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    1. Isn't it simply amazing how infinitely vast His love for us is? Yes, just a child's grasp of His love for us sends us running into His loving arms. Thanks, Theresa!

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  10. Thinking about our sin, confessing our sin, turning from our sin: none of these are easy things. But they are such necessary things. Thanks for prompting us to move through them to get to the other side. Glad you linked up at Grace & Truth.

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    1. Yes, Lisa, necessary but not easy and oh so worth it when we get to the other side of a restored relationship with our heavenly Father. It was a pleasure to link up with Grace & Truth.

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  11. Maybe it was becoming a parent - and then I understood what a loving Father He is - because I learned a lot about love as a mom - the unconditional kind of love that covers a wealth of sin! How blessed we are that we can come clean with God and know that His love endures, forgives!

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    1. I'm always so amazed at how much He teaches me about His love through the way I love my children, too. He is such a wise and loving Father, and I'm so grateful for His forgiveness.

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