We were visiting friends out of state. The temperature hovered around 90, and the upstairs guest rooms were too hot to sleep in comfortably. “If you don’t mind sleeping in the basement,” our hostess said, “it’s nice and cool down there. The pullout couch is comfortable, and there’s a bathroom with a shower.”
We slept well on her comfy pullout couch. It was the shower we had trouble with.
Added on after the house was built, the shower was tucked into an alcove in the bathroom. When I stepped in and pulled the opaque shower curtain closed behind me, very little light shone through. And while my shower routine is pretty predictable, it would have been easier to see what was dirty if I’d had more light.
My spiritual life is a lot like my physical life in this way. If I look at myself through the lens of this world, which is dim and cloudy, I look pretty good. If I compare myself with the light of God’s Word, however, I realize there is much about my character that still needs improvement.
The Psalmist acknowledged, “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
Sometimes, without the light of God’s counsel, I deceive myself. I think I’m thoughtful and unselfish, until my husband points out how I’ve been neglecting him. I think I’m patient and kind, until I stand in a long line at the grocery store and mutter with the other disgruntled customers. I think I’m a servant, until someone leaves a mess behind and I grumble as I clean it up.
My pastor says regular examination and confession, both general (“I am a sinner,”) and specific (I have sinned by _______,”) is necessary to guard our hearts against sin, and it is true.
“If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” promises 1 John 1:9.
Instead of being discouraged, however, I should be encouraged by the lifelong process of sanctification—of becoming more like Christ, because God partners with me in the process.
Theologian E.M. Bounds writes: “God will not meet you where you pretend to be.”
But he seldom elbows into my life; I have to invite him. If I hide in the shadows of my own self-assessment and self-righteousness, God will not meet me there. If I pull the curtain wide and allow the light of his Word to show me what’s dirty, I’ve made the first step toward him and the person he wants me to be. My friend’s shower curtain wasn’t transparent, but we certainly should be.
“Confession allows God room to work,” my pastor says.
Is there something you need to confess and surrender to God today? Will you join me in submitting it to God and watching him work?
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