Whether we like to acknowledge it personally, privately or publically, we all sin and fall short of the requirements of God for our lives. Yet, one of the greatest gifts and mercies which God bestows upon us is to show us our sins; to bring our sins to our recognition.
The simple fact of the matter is that if we cannot see our own sin, see cannot repent of it! It is all too easy to judge ourselves with a common fleshy worldview, rather than a Godly heavenly-view; as we take the imperfections we see in ourselves as blessings and gifts, rather than barriers to God’s plans for us. I don’t know if you have ever experienced the unsettling experience of looking in a mirror and being totally unable to recognise the face staring back. It has happened to me and the dulling shock which the experience gave me, is a reminder that I am really not how I think other people see me.
Over the years I have been blessed by the Lord that Christian friends and acquaintances have given me their testimonies of me, and it was interesting how little their priorities and mine aligned. Characteristics and actions important to me, were not necessarily important to them.
The same has occurred when Jill and I have undertaken extended fasts and prayers together. That is often the time, during our joint prayer time, that God will speak to me through Jill and bring to light areas of sin in my life. A couple of years ago I recognised that the Lord was repairing my spiritual foundations by plugging holes which existed there. A whole lot of repenting took place on a multitude of “small” things. However, I soon realised that these small things were deep down in the foundations of my faith and if the enemy were to have attacked there, my whole Christian foundation could have been made unstable. I thank the Lord for those opportunities to repent and receive His forgiveness.
In First John 1:9 we find outlined the promise of God for cleaning our sins:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
As fallen creatures, we are unable to understand the motivations of our own hearts without God’s help. As Jeremiah 17:9-10 says:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.'”
We need God to come and search our hearts for us. It is not just a case of committing sin and repenting of it, again and again, we need to know our own heart. As the writer says in Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.” Repeating sins, is just plain foolishness!
Why does God care so much about helping us read and understand our own hearts? Perhaps because we cannot do it ourselves; perhaps because they are important to Him. As the Psalmist guides us in Psalm 51:17
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
God is interested in our confessions of sin for actions or inactions which have offended Him. However, He is also very interested in our hearts and our motivations. God will not be impressed by our good and proper actions, if they are the result of a selfish heart!
God is interesting in us as a complete package, which included, mind, body and soul and our actions which come therefrom.
God is indeed merciful and when He brings our sins to our recognition, it really is for our own benefit.