this post is part two in the “pausing to pray” series. you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.
Day 2 – Confession
Written by: Jan Jones
Letting Go of Sin
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, …”
I take my coffee each morning on my front porch. The porch provides a beautiful view of my “front yard” garden – yaupon hollies, autumn ferns, pots of annuals and hydrangeas. In early June, I noticed a vine sprouting up between two hollies. I thought to myself, “I need to pull that up.” I repeated that thought for over 60 days, but would promptly forget about it once I put my coffee cup down and began the day’s activities. The vine steadily grew and began to intertwine itself within the holly. One morning, I reached down to pull it up but the root was very strong, and all I was able to accomplish was to break the top six inches of the vine and strip several leaves off a branch. It also had developed small slivers of thorns. My effort to pull it up by myself convinced me I would need a small spade, garden shears, and gloves. And so, I didn’t put anymore effort into removing the vine.
I got use to seeing the vine in the yaupon. It began to blend in quite well with the shrub. It wrapped itself around the main stem and its tendrils began to reach out for branches and leaves. It became completely embedded to the yaupon. The yaupon is still there but all I see now is the vine – the price a lazy gardener pays for not pulling the weeds and vines while they were small.
The writer of Hebrews warns us in Hebrews 12:1 that sin “easily entangles” itself in our lives – it attaches itself to our heart, our thoughts, our actions. Usually our first interaction with sin is easily recognizable. We realize and admit that we must remove the sin. But life gets in the way and we never “get around” to addressing our sin. Other times, we feel that it really isn’t that big of a deal – it’s not like we are thieves or murderers. And so the sin entangles a little more into our lives, wrapping members of our body and holds our every thought captive. Before we know it, sin (just a little sin, you say) has overtaken our lives and we have become use to it; not really noticing it anymore.
It takes work – some sins are easily “pulled up.” Others require additional equipment and effort (fervent prayer; Bible study; fasting; a willing heart and confession). This week, let us focus on sin in our lives that might be hindering us from running with perseverance.
Ephesians 4:30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
As you pray, thank God for the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin. Ask Him to reveal to you the sin that has entangled your life.
Psalm 36:2: “For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.”
As you pray, ask God to open the eyes of your heart to recognize that your unconfessed sin is a form of self-flattery.
Psalm 38:18, David wrote: “I confess my iniquity. I am troubled by my sin.”
As sin is exposed and we agree with God, ask God for the perseverance needed for Him to completely remove the sin from your life.
Psalm 66:18-19: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened, but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”
Praise God for changing your heart by revealing your sin. Thank Him for hearing your prayer.
Psalm 119:97: “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”
Ask God to strengthen your resolve to study His Word thereby enabling you to easily recognize sin in your life.
John 1:29: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
How glorious it is that God uses us, sinners, as spiritual investors in the lives of children. We must remain diligent in eradicating any personal sins that hinder our usefulness in God’s Hands. We have the privilege of introducing children to the Lamb of God who takes away their sin. Ask God to keep you close to Him in the coming year – convicting you, loving you, and molding you into the image of His Son.
Jan Jones recently retired after 28 years of ministry. She has served in countless roles including Minister to Children, Minister to Adults, and Minister of Christian Education. Her impact on children, families, women, adults, and other ministers is quite broad and continues as she now serves weekly as a faithful 3rd grade Sunday School Investors. You can see a glimpse of her gift of leadership on another blog post found on this site here.