People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Am I the only one who struggle with confession of sin?
I belong to a church where we spend a few moments weekly in private, personal confession – before participating in the Lord’s Supper. I also include confession of sin in my own time with the Lord on a regular basis.
I have to admit, though, that most of my confessional time has been spent in shallow waters with quick disclosures of the most recent, glaring sins that comes to my mind. As a result, my confessions have not gone terribly deep or been incredibly transformative.
But, a few months ago, while listening to an online sermon, I picked up a powerful little tool that is enriching my confessional time.
In the simplest explanation it’s four little words:
Hooked, Cold, Scared, Proud.
These words provide a guide for 4 questions to ask myself as I allow the Spirit to shine a light on areas of sin in my life.
Hooked – Where did I get hooked in my day? By hooked, I mean, where did I lose focus and get hung up on things that are “off-mission” for my life. My purpose on earth is to glorify God and be a part of advancing His Kingdom, but so often I get off track and consumed with things that simply don’t matter. By reflecting on where I was “hooked” I can easily find areas of confession.
Cold- Where did my heart grow cold? This one breaks my heart as it causes me to reflect on times that I allowed busyness, resentment, selfish desires, etc to keep me from showing love to a friend, a loved one or perhaps even a stranger. When my heart grows cold toward another human, I miss an opportunity to show grace or to love or help another.
Scared….When was I scared? I long to be bold for Christ and to not waste the opportunities that come up each day that allow me to point others to Him, but, sometimes, I miss those opportunities because of fear….fear of what others would think….fear of pushing someone away from the Lord….fear of facing an awkward moment. When I reflect on the times I chose fear over faith, there’s always a sin to confess.
Proud….When did I exhibit pride? When did I pat myself on the back instead of giving God the glory? When was I hyper-critical of others in my day? Or, when did I seemingly believe that the outcome of the day’s trial depends more on me than on God? In all those times (and more), my prideful heart needs to confess.
So, you may ask, how is this practice deepening my time of confession?
Well, these words have helped to illuminate dark places in my heart and, by pondering these questions on a regular basis, I’m beginning to see patterns in my life….places in my day where I routinely get hooked, situations where I tend to grow cold or scared and circumstances that habitually unleash the pride in my heart. With these patterns revealed, I can entreat the Holy Spirit for his help in fighting specific battles in advance. I can memorize and pray Scriptures to remind my heart of a better way. In time, my prayer is that my life will reflect more engagement, more warmth and love, more courage, and more humility. Thank you Lord for the gift of confession!
Kim Melnick loves Jesus, His people and His word. She’s passionate about learning and sharing with others as she learns and grows. Her prayer journals are an overflow of her experiences in Scripture, prayer and study and her aim is that you would grow closer to the Lord as you use them.