Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 28

Prayers of Confession continued...

In case you were wondering, no, Achan is not the only biblical example for whom confession and repentance came too late. There are other cautionary tales within the pages of scripture, and today we will be discussing two more, so we might glean understanding.

Yes I realize this is a sensitive topic, and since its sensitivity has been acknowledged, I want to clarify something from the start. When the word of God says that no place could be found for repentance, it does not mean that although someone truly repented with all their heart, and turned away from the iniquity they practiced, God would somehow refuse their repentance or turn His back on them and choose not to forgive them.

What it does mean, is that if we refuse to repent and confess before God long enough, when we do come before Him with repentance it will not be sincere, it will not be a true repentance of the heart, but merely something we felt obliged to do. Saying ‘I repent’ and actually repenting are two very different things. If the heart grows cold and the conscience is seared, though the words might be on someone’s lips, the follow-through will not occur.

The first man, for whom repentance came too late, is the most infamous traitor of all time, and no I am not referring to Benedict Arnold.

Judas betrayed Christ. Even those with a rudimentary knowledge of scripture know of his treachery, having betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. After the infamous kiss on the cheek, after Jesus was taken away by the Roman soldiers and delivered to Pontius Pilate, Judas sought repentance, even going so far as returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. By then however, it was too late, and the remorse he felt was too much to bear.

Matthew 27:3-5, “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘what is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Judas confessed his sin, he confessed that he had betrayed innocent blood, yet his confession came too late.

The second man, for whom repentance came too late, was Esau, the man who sold his birthright for a morsel of food.

Hebrews 12:17, “For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”

The more we put off repentance, the more we put off confession, the more we put off humbling ourselves before God, and seeking His mercy and forgiveness, the colder our hearts become, and the more sin becomes an acceptable practice in our lives.

When we stifle the urging of the Holy Spirit to pray prayers of confession, when we stifle the urging of the Holy Spirit to repent before God, the flesh is emboldened and allowed to grow in its influence over us.

Eventually, though we might seek repentance, even diligently and with tears, it will not be with a true and undefiled desire for fellowship with God, it will not be with sincerity of heart, but due to what we may have lost out on, or fear of eternal judgment.

We do not repent or confess before God when we consider it an opportune time, but when God stirs our hearts through the unction of the Holy Spirit to do so.

Grace is offered us today, forgiveness is offered us today, redemption is offered us today, and it is today that we must accept this precious gift, because tomorrow belongs neither to you nor to me.

Why would we delay unburdening ourselves before God? Why would we delay coming before Him with prayers of repentance and confession, knowing that forgiveness is ours to be had, and the weight of our iniquity will be lifted from our shoulders?

Psalm 62:8, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”

Pour out your heart before God. Tell Him of your fears, tell Him of your doubts, tell Him of your victories, tell Him of your defeats, tell Him of your resentments, tell Him of your struggles; He hears and He listens, and He forgives. He comforts the hurting, He wipes away our tears, He binds up our wounds, and He forgives us our iniquities.

Come before God with sincerity of heart, come before Him with honesty and forthrightness, and pour out your heart.

We’ve all poured out our hearts at one time or another in this life, and we know what it entails. It’s not something demure, structured, bland or sterile, it is emotional, and passionate, and often times there are tears and moans and sniffles involved.

We are verbalizing our heartache when we pour our hearts out to God, we are verbalizing our fears, we are verbalizing our failures, we are verbalizing our emotions, and every time it is a cathartic, cleansing and liberating experience.

Prayers of confession and repentance are the most emotionally draining prayers we can pray to God. They are prayers of the heart, cries of the soul, the moments in which we are most honest with God and with ourselves.

Tell God everything, hold nothing back, even though you might be embarrassed, or even ashamed, remember, He already knows, He wants to forgive, but you must come before Him with confession and repentance.

Psalm 142:1-2, “I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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