“To all my non-believing, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often for you the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians.” – Shane Claiborne
Twice each year, Florida is invaded. Not by hordes of tourists or love struck newlyweds enjoying the carefree bliss of our white sandy beaches. Neither by the flocks of “snow birds” who journey here each winter to enjoy our idyllic weather, clog our restaurants and drive painfully slow in the left lanes of our busy streets.
I refer to the semi-annual appearance of the dreadful lovebug; a small fly that spends most of its brief life in a harmless larval state buried in the soil. Lovebugs do not bite, sting, or damage plants. In fact they live above ground just long enough to mate, deposit eggs and die – on average four to seven days. That is when they make life miserable for most Floridians. This is why we hate them.
You see, lovebugs are a colossal nuisance. Emerging from their subterranean world in the multiplied tens of thousands, the mating swarms become so abundant that driving a vehicle even short distances through the biological cloud will literally cover a windshield in gooey dead lovebug bodies. Talk about impaired driving. In extreme cases, lovebugs can plug a radiator enough to disrupt the engine’s airflow, and cause the car to overheat. But lovebugs could care less. They feel no remorse and offer no declaration of guilt for the inconvenience (and expense) which they perpetrate upon us. Oh you evil little fly.
Silly? Of course it is. Lovebugs cannot feel the pangs of conscience. They have no sense of right and wrong. Charges of wickedness and depravity cannot be leveled against them. And that my dear friend is what separates people from the lovebug (and most other living creatures).
Human beings intuitively know when they have done wrong. Divine law is not something foreign, and thus imposed upon mankind. It is woven into the very fabric of our DNA. There is something deep within us that resonates to right and wrong (Romans 2:14-16). Only a human can be aware of and confess a fault.
Why is this important? Because we need another genuine revival in our world – a new great awakening. Revival can only occur where people are humble, contrite, broken, and forgiven. Revival begins with confession.
“Sacrifice, discipline and prayer are essential. We gain strength through God’s word … And when we fumble due to sin – and it’s gonna happen – confession puts us back on the field.” – Lou Holtz
Have you heard the saying, “Confession is good for the soul?” Most of us have. It apparently comes from an old Scottish proverb. I am told that the original saying actually reads, “Open confession is good for the soul.”
When was the last time you experienced an open confession? In deference to all my dear Catholic friends, I’m not talking about a one on one “face time” with the parish priest as an alternative to the traditional booth in the back of the sanctuary. I refer to a time of transparency before our Creator; a time of honesty with yourself and authenticity within the household of faith. Here is a wonderful verse from the Newer Testament writer James,
16“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMP)
Nothing revives a man or woman like candid acknowledgment of shortcomings and failures (aka: sins). Such declarations put us in touch with the true condition of our inner most being (human spirit). I am not suggesting that we should tell anyone and everyone our deepest, darkest secrets. And, these confessions are not meant to inform God of all the depravity lurking inside of us. Does anyone really think Almighty God doesn’t know the true state of our existence already? Of course He does.
Some may be wondering, “If God already knows my badness, why is open confession even necessary?” Glad you asked. Open confession enables accurate self-assessment of our human condition. Knowing who I am spiritually is important for sure, but I also need to know who I am as a Christian human being in this world every day. Don’t get mad at me for saying this, but some of you need to set aside a bit of your pseudo religious piety and self-importance in order to see the real you. To put it bluntly, you just might discover the person that the rest of the world actually sees. Ouch.
I’m talking about a personal “reality check”. Knowing ourselves is what helps to keep us genuine. Open confession enables us to accept personal responsibility for our mistakes. It swings wide the windows of our soul allowing the winds of the spirit to blow refreshing restoration (revival) into our lives. We all need a personal revival.
“The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes.” – Os Guinness
The Older Testament writer Jeremiah said,
9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Who really knows? Our Creator. He knows how deceitful and wicked we really are. That’s why he sent the Liberator Jesus to the earth on a salvage mission. As a recipient of His amazing grace and enduring mercy, my wild, wandering, shameless heart has now been broken. In authentic humility, with a repentant attitude, I have acknowledged my need for reclamation. I look to Jesus because I believe that he was sent to this planet to “seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 KJV) My existence as a spiritual zombie (dead inside) is over. The liberator Jesus gave me a new life. I have been revived! How about you?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, our English word re ·vive means: “To make (someone or something) strong, healthy, or active again.” Get it? Our Creator wants His people strong, healthy and active again. Just think of what God could do with a people who were burning with a strong, healthy and active passion for His purpose and for whom the word “defeat” is not an option!
Confession leads to revival. Are you ready to be revived? Let these words from Psalm 32:5-7 speak to your heart:
5 I told my sin to you. I did not hide my wrong-doing. I said, “I will tell my sins to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 So let all who are God-like pray to you while you may be found, because in the floods of much water, they will not touch him. 7 You are my hiding place. You keep me safe from trouble. All around me are your songs of being made free.” (Psalm 32:5-7 NLV)
I feel a change comin’ on… TRUTH is freedom and life!
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656