It was more than 15 years ago now, but I’ll never forget the way I felt that fall. God pressed on my heart the need to break free from a certain relationship in my life, and I refused.
I didn’t see it as an all-out rebellion, of course. I justified my actions with all kinds of Christian-sounding excuses. The person needed Jesus. I was being “salt and light.” What other Christians did this person know?
But I knew in my heart that God was calling me to step away.
In the quiet of my home, I prayed and begged and cried, but I also maintained the relationship.
“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17 NLT).
The long and short of the story is that I was sinning.
I knew God was telling me to walk away, but I didn’t. By not ending the relationship, I was sinning.
And in the weeks that followed, the sin ate away at me — until God led me to Psalm 32.
As I read that Psalm of David, I wept because his words were my heart.
That day, in obedience to the Lord, I ended the relationship that had been so important to me. I had to trust God to be the one to work in that person’s heart. Jesus needed to be the Savior, not me.
In Psalm 32 David illustrates to us the importance of confession.
When we remain in our sin, when we don’t confess, when we justify, ignore, or excuse, sin eats away at us.
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat (Psalm 32:3-4).
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
- Have I become so numb to sin I don’t even recognize it (or its consequences) any more?
- Do I regularly confess my sins to God? If not, why not?
- What situation, relationship, thought, or action is God convicting me of right now?
- Am I willing to expose all that is in my heart to the Lord, compare it to the truth of His Word, and allow my heart to be searched by His Spirit?