Sunday, March 26, 2023
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
Have you ever looked up and realized you were staring at four lanes of traffic coming head-on directly at you? There is only one solution when you are on a one-way street going in the wrong direction. It's U-turn time! And it would be best if you did it quickly and thoughtfully. The Bible word for this kind of turnaround is "repentance" — a change of heart and mind that leads to a life change. Repentance isn't only feeling bad for our sins; that's godly sorrow that should lead us to our true, full, spiritual U-turn. True repentance means a lifestyle change that bears good fruit in our lives and blesses the lives of others.
People generally have several approaches to the sin problems in their life:
Jesus made clear that He will reveal everything that has been concealed, except those things that have been through the car wash of God's mercy and grace on the way to true repentance. Jesus' disciples confess their sins with genuine sorrow, turning their life around to live for God. Such people gladly accept God's grace and mercy, trusting that God has not only forgiven but also purified and cleansed them. Jesus presents them to the Father with their original shine as they re-enter life as pure as when they first became Christians.
God gave us each other to strengthen and encourage each other in our walk with Jesus. Let's not hide our sins. It is an insult to God, a distrust of our friends, and a residue of sin we let remain in us and poison our faith. John, the apostle of love, said it this way:
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 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. James, the brother of Jesus, reminded us that Jesus gave us our spiritual family to pray for us so we could put our sins behind us — "confess and turn from them" to "to receive mercy" as our verse puts it:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 
We cannot conceal our sins if we confess them to another believer. We must not see confession as a private matter only between God and us. Confession involves other believers who love and can hold us accountable and support, encourage, and love us in the direction of God and holiness! As followers of Jesus, we need relationships that challenge, lovingly confront, correct, and restore us. 
Father, please forgive me for the times I've played games with the sin in my life. I know that sin poisons my heart and weakens my discipleship and influence. Thank you for providing some strong believers who can hold me accountable, be my sounding board for decisions, and help me as I seek to make my repentance stick in my life with changed behaviors. Thank you, Jesus, for not only interceding in this prayer for me but also for presenting me as your righteous, holy, and blameless disciple to God.* Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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