When God Doesn't Listen
"I cried out to Him with my mouth; His praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." Psalm 66:17-18
A Native American and a white man were deeply moved by the same sermon. That very night the Native American received Jesus as his Savior; but for days the white man refused to accept Christ. At last he, too, repented and enjoyed the sweet peace of having his sins forgiven. Later he asked his Native American friend, “Why did it take me so long, while you responded right away?”
“My brother,” he replied, “I can best explain it by this little story: At one time a rich prince wished to give each of us a new coat. You shook your head and replied, "I don’t think so; mine looks good enough." When he made the same offer to me, I looked at my old blanket and said, "This is good for nothing," and gratefully accepted the beautiful garment. You wouldn't give up your own righteousness. But knowing I had no goodness of my own, I immediately received the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness."
Confession of sin means giving up our own righteousness. When we truly confess our sins to God, there is no room for arguments, self-righteousness or excuses. And confession is not a one-time event, but rather a lifestyle. If we wish to follow Jesus Christ, the Spirit will constantly be revealing hidden sin in our hearts and we will constantly be agreeing with Him and turning from it.
Psalm 66:17-18 gives us a startling truth—one that I believe few people know, understand or believe. If there is unconfessed sin in our hearts, the Lord will not receive our worship. Notice the contrast in these verses of what is on the tongue, and what is in the heart. God is much more concerned with the state of our hearts than with outward praise. He desires—and deserves—to be fully worshiped in truth. When we exalt Him with our lips, but our hearts hide known sin, we are nothing but liars.
True worship begins in the heart. This is why confession is so important. We cannot see God clearly, know Him fully, or enjoy Him abundantly if we are harboring sin in our hearts. He stands ever waiting to receive our confession and shower us with His amazing grace…if only we are willing to give up our own righteousness in exchange for His.
Heavenly Father, I know that no good dwells in me apart from You. Please reveal any hidden sin in my heart so that I may come to You in honest confession and pure worship. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.