Normally I begin my morning with The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. This little jewel was a gift from my friend, Nancy DeMoss, several years ago and is a valuable tool for prayer instruction. I've found it helpful because of the Puritans' perspective on sin. They lived with a vivid awareness that sin breaks fellowship with God. Their prayers are filled with honest and impassioned confession of sin.
Their perspective readjusts thinking influenced by a sin-saturated environment. The modern culture's view of sin is depicted more often by the phrase, “It's no big deal” rather than the Puritan cry, “Oh wretched man of sin that I am!”
Because God's mercy is so deep, His lovingkindness so immense, we may tag Him as “soft on sin.” But that is a gross misperception. God has a “no tolerance” policy when it comes to sin. In fact, His standard is unattainable by man—thus Christ's atoning work at the cross. We have no excuse; our sin can be confessed and forgiven. However, when we fail to confess our sin, it stands as a barrier to our fellowship with God. If I really want to have nothing blocking my communication with God, then I must get serious about dealing with my own sin!
Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear (Isaiah 59:1-2).
The Psalmist records how this dilemma can be remedied:
Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard wickedness (hold onto my sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear; but certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer (Psalm 66:16-18).
Herein lies the key to overcoming sin: desiring fellowship with God more than my sin.
The equation is simple, really: Unconfessed sin equals no audience with God; Confessed sin means God is “all ears”! Which brings me to the point of our discussion today... Why do we delay in confessing our sin to an all-knowing merciful Savior? I think it has to do with the fact that once we confess, we then are required to repent (turn from) that sin—and so often our desire to hang onto the sin is greater than the desire for fellowship with God. What do you think?