FIRST-PERSON: Honesty & revival

Tags: revival

O'FALLON, Ill. (BP) -- Revival only comes in conjunction with deep, open and honest confession of sin.

All the great revivals of Scripture and history involve God's people acknowledging the truth of their wrongdoing. It is both the catalyst and the result of a genuine spiritual awakening.

Recognition of sin leads us to see our need for God. Seeing God's holiness causes us to recognize our own sinfulness. Confession and repentance are indispensable ingredients to any close connection to the Lord.

But therein lies the problem. It is hard to be honest -- gut-level, soul-searching, truth-telling honest. We struggle to be honest with God and with ourselves.

Here are some hard truths that can help us see our need to confess, repent and draw closer to God.

1. Sin is your own fault.

Your sin is not the fault of your parents, your friends or your situation in life. I am responsible for my sin and you are responsible for yours. Stop blaming someone else for your own choices. Own your responsibility. Don't take the blame for the sins of others, but do take the blame for your own transgressions. This is what confession is really all about.

2. The truth is painful, but freeing.

I don't like needles. They hurt! But some painful things can be beneficial to me. The truth of my own sin is often painful and I want to ignore it and think about something else. But dealing with that painful truth is the first step in finding the remedy offered by God. Truth sets us free.

3. No sin is small.

I was reading about the "small" sin of gossip and found it mixed in with several "big" sins right in the Bible. It makes me think that this "small" sin isn't so small after all. All sin is an affront to God's holiness. It is blatant disobedience to the Lord Himself. These are no small things and ought not be treated as such.

4. God already knows the truth about you.

Confessing sins is not informing God about our wrongdoings. He already knows. The New Testament word for "confess" literally means we say the same thing about our sin that God says. When we confess our sins we have finally reached the point of agreeing with God about what He already knows -- that our action or attitude was sinful.

5. God loves imperfect people.

How thankful I am for this. God loves sinful people just like us. We can be saved by the work of Jesus who died in our place and rose from the dead as we confess, believe and receive Him as our personal Savior. And, believers can find renewed cleansing by confessing the sins that damage their relationship with the Lord. God is holy and hates sin. But God is love and is able and willing to forgive and cleanse.

Be honest with yourself and with God. See the truth about your need for Him. Let no sinful action or attitude come between you and the Lord. Confess your sin to the Lord and turn from it. Tell the truth and be freed by it. Honesty is all that stands between you and personal revival.

Doug Munton, online at dougmunton.com, is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in O'Fallon, Ill., and a former first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is the author of "Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith."
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