The Spiritual Discipline of Confession

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;” (John 16:7-9)

In Gordon Smith’s The Voice of Jesus, we are taught the spiritual discipline of confession. Our confession of sin is first and foremost rooted in the reality that we are loved by God (Romans 5:8). God loves us extravagantly so, and our sin impedes our ability to hear Jesus’ voice in our lives. Smith writes, “God is calling us away from sin, from that which is not life but death, from that which undercuts our capacity to hear the voice of Jesus and be all that we are called to be” (p. 91).

Confession is the spiritual discipline that enables us to respond intentionally to the convicting ministry of the Spirit.

The spiritual discipline of confession includes (see The Voice of Jesus pp. 103-107):

  • The prayer of humility. We are sinners in need of mercy.
  • Acknowledgment of Wrong. We must agree with the Spirit that we are not living in what is true and good.
  • Acknowledgment of Responsibility. We must admit personal responsibility and culpability and no scapegoat and blame others or our circumstances.
  • Repudiation and turning from sin. We experience grief and remorse from our sin, but true confession also involves turning and repentance from our sin.
  • Acceptance of forgiveness. When we come to Jesus in confession, He promises to forgive us (1 John 1:9).
  • Reformation and accountability. Confession involves purposeful action towards change and transformation. We must develop concrete action steps to live in this new place of freedom and forgiveness. And there is great value in intentional accountability with another Christian brother or sister.

We are loved by the Father and we respond in gratitude. We are also convicted of our sin, and we respond in confession. This forgiveness frees us to hear Jesus voice more as the Spirit illumines our hearts and minds in the Scriptures, which in turn allows us to hear and follow Jesus’ guidance and He leads us in times of choice. See “The Prayer of Wisdom” for the pattern and character of our prayers.

Learn to practice the spiritual discipline of confession. Is there anything you would add to the spiritual discipline of confession?

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