Change Requires Confession

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God already knows everything about you, even the bad stuff you think you can hide from him, but he needs you to confess so the work of change can begin.

“‘What is your name?’ the man asked. He replied, ‘Jacob’” (Genesis 32:27 NLT).

God allows a crisis to get our attention, and then he uses the crisis to develop our character. One thing that signals we’re changing for the better is when we confess that we’re the problem. We stop blaming other people and admit, “I am the problem with my life.” Until we understand this, there can be no major change in our lives. This is the breakthrough God knows we need.

In Genesis 32, God asks Jacob, “What is your name?” This is a very strange request, because God obviously already knew Jacob’s name. In ancient cultures, you were always named for your character — what you really were. Your name might be Tall or Short, or your name might be Brave or Lazy. Your given name was your label. It wasn’t just something that sounded nice. It represented your character.

Now, that’s a problem, because “Jacob” means “deceiver, manipulator, liar.” And Jacob lived up to his name! When Jacob says, “My name is Jacob,” it is an act of confession. He’s admitting, “I am a manipulator.”

Whenever I read this verse, I wonder what it would be like to be named for your greatest character fault: “Hi, I'm Greedy.” “Hi, I'm Gossip.” What would be your name? Bitter? Angry? Uncontrollable Temper? Lustful? Afraid?

Here’s what we need to understand: We will never be able to change until we openly and honestly and authentically admit our sin, our weakness, our faults, our frailty, and our character defects and confess this to ourselves, to God, and to other people.

One of the most humbling things in the world is to go, “This is who I am. I am a __________.” You fill in the blank. “I am a worrier … I am a domineering person … I am a person who runs from conflict … I am an addict.” Just admit it. Stop making excuses. Stop rationalizing. Stop justifying. Stop blaming other people. You’ve got to come clean about what everybody else sees but you won’t admit. 

When you come to God and say, “God, I want to own up to the weaknesses and the wrong in my life. This is who I really am.” God is not going to be surprised! He already knows, but he needs you to confess so the work of change can begin. God’s forgiveness and grace is bigger than anything wrong you’ve ever done or will do. 

Talk It Over

If you were given an Old Testament name, what would it be? What word best describes you?

Why is it important to also confess your sin to other people? To what kind of friends should you be confessing your sin?

Do you really want God to change you and develop your character? What steps of confession are you willing to take today?

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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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