If you missed the last two parts - here is the recap. Living honestly reflects God in our daily lives, and it starts with being honest with ourselves about how dishonest we are. Part four gets real practical about little things we can do to be, stay, and promote honesty.
Alright, now that we have addressed the importance of being truthful with ourselves, we can approach God from that place of real, transparent, honesty. Let's get some insight from an unlikely place.
There is this fascinating story that Jesus told sandwiched in between a story about being persistent in prayer and the importance of accepting the kingdom of God like a little child. While addressing those who had a self-righteous view because of how good they thought they were, Jesus confronted their self-righteousness by telling a story.
This story involved two men, one a tax-collector (generally despised by the Jewish people) and one a religious guy who both went to the Temple to pray. While not a story usually associated with confession - it provides a crucial insight into the thinking of Jesus as He repeats a prayer the tax collector uttered. Jesus says in verse 13 of Luke chapter 18, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." A powerful admission is made in that prayer - I am a sinner. Jesus then closes the teaching by saying, "I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
There is something powerful in confession. Going before God in full admission of our guilt is a path of honesty seldom traveled, but richly rewarded.
One of the closest followers of Jesus, John, reiterates this throughout his letter of 1 John. Few places throughout the New Testament are as clear as 1 John 1:8-10, "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. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts."
Being honest with ourselves about our sin doesn't absolve us, cleanse us, or do anything other than make us honest. Without making that confession to God, we are making, as John would say, a fatal mistake. Calling God a liar and proving His word has no place in our hearts. Our silence is an indication of our lack of reliance, trust, and faith.
In between two brutal statements about the silent killer, the dark side of an unconfessed life, is a beautiful promise of new life, of cleansing, and forgiveness.
That is the invitation to each of us today. Not that we would somehow make it through an entire day without sinning. But that we could make it a full day being honest about those sins, confessing those sins, and walking in the freedom God's forgiveness affords.
Next week we will wrap up this whole discussion and talk about practical tips for staying in a place of constant confession.
See you on Sunday -