I’ll never forget the night I cried out to the Lord, “If it’s really true, if you want a personal relationship with me, I want you!” I knew I was a sinner and suddenly it all fell into place – Jesus who lived a perfectly sinless life died the death I deserved (Romans 6:23), he died in my place, paying the penalty for my sin, so that I could be justified – redeemed, restored, made whole. “Just as if I never sinned.” “Just as if I did everything right!” At that moment, from the tip of my head all the way down to the bottom of my feet I felt a physical sensation of being made pure. It was wonderful! I think in my case, the Lord knew I needed a bit of extra affirmation!
And I continue to need this! That’s why the second part of pursing purity is found in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Sadly, even though I’ve been walking with Jesus for over thirty years, I still sin daily. And I’m finding taking the time each night before I go to bed to confess my sins, agreeing with God that I was wrong and asking for His help to repent is having a huge impact on my life!
Now whether I take time to confess or not, as a believer in Christ I am pure! The difference is whether I’m experiencing this or not! You see, I can get so down at the end of the day, with this sense of having blown it hanging over my head. When I look in the mirror I don’t see myself the way Jesus does. And of course the enemy loves to point out how much I fail! He is called the accuser for good reason! (Revelation 12:10)
But when I take time to agree with God and remember what He’s done to make things right and who I am in Him – that He really is faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness – does it ever help me remember, embrace and rest in what really is true! Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see. And is my faith ever strengthened when I actively take time to remember. What an incredible gift from the Lord confession is! It truly is preaching the gospel to myself daily!
It not only makes me so much more aware of my need for Jesus, but most importantly makes me appreciate even more how much it cost Him to pay the penalty for my sin and realize even more how incredible His love is for me!
Now remember sin isn’t just what you do, but can also be how you do what you do as well as what you don’t do.
Recently I was having a quiet time in Isaiah 64:6 and it hit me ~ if even my most righteous acts are like filthy rags (the English Standard version reads “polluted garments” ~ talk about impure!) then I need to be confessing them too! Confessing how my motives sure can be mixed! Or how I fail to fully carry out what the Lord wants me doing. Has this ever been a humbling eye opener to start being intentional about confessing this!
And sin can also be failing to do something I should be doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 nails me every day – this makes it clear it’s God’s will in everything for me to give thanks! I’m sad to say even after all these years of walking with Jesus I often don’t. And what about the two verses right before it: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Once again I fall so far short in both. And what about all the time I waste on other things when I could be praising and adoring the Lord – when I’m focused on me, and not on Him or get sidetracked with my own agenda rather than seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness?! (Matthew 6:33)
What a difference it’s having in my life as I’m actively seeking to confess these things on a daily basis. I have never been more humbled especially when I take time to consider how even the most righteous things I do are tainted. Does it ever help me see even more how much I need Jesus to save me not just once but every single day! And as a result I appreciate Him even more!
I love to use the acronym A-C-T-S, taking time before bed to:
Adore the Lord,
Confess (then write in red on top of it, “Paid in Full!”)
Thank Him! and then
Share with Him the concerns on my heart both for myself and others around me.
To be honest I often don’t go straight through from A to S! Usually I start with confession, thanks just flows so naturally out of that as well as sharing my concerns and I often end up with Adoration. For me, that’s a powerful place to end up, intentionally taking time to remember who Jesus is.
What a great way to prepare my heart to rest for the night!
So the two most important ways to pursue purity are both about pursuing Jesus – first through entering into a personal relationship with him where I accept what He’s done for me and trust that was sufficient to atone for my sin and then secondly, through confession.
But it doesn’t come “naturally” to confess, does it? I find I have to be intentional! And to be honest, I haven’t met many believers who take Jesus up on his offer in 1 John 1:9 very often. Oh, maybe for the “biggies” but not the dailys – and are they ever missing out on growing in loving Jesus even more as a result (Luke 7:47) and experiencing the purity that truly is theirs!
In James 5:16 another aspect of confession is revealed as we’re commanded, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Biblically confession isn’t just a private thing! But something we are to do with each other! And it’s not just that younger women should confess to older women. I even did this with my son when he was growing up. When I’d lose my temper, I’d come to him and confess my sin and ask him to pray for me! Talk about humbling! But also life changing – for both of us!
When older women will not just share their struggles but ask younger women to pray for them can this ever create an environment of safety and a healthy God honoring view of our continued need for him – and pave the way for younger women to seek out older women to confess to!
This is a simple but life changing way older women can spur younger women on, and teach them to be pure ~ model it! Let them see your continued need for Jesus! And for others to pray for you!
I know when I was younger I honestly thought by the time I’d been walking with Jesus ten years I’d really have it together! And when I hit that mark I actually got depressed, how could it be that I was seeing even more sin in my life?!
I really believe this is a key reason why we are told in scripture older women are to train the younger women to be pure. It’s so easy when you’re young to fall into the trap of believing if I just try harder I can be pure. But the longer you live and the harder you try – trust me, you soon know the futility of that! We need Jesus! And each other!
So share with her your struggles along with the truth that in Christ you are pure! And in Christ she is too! Forever clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus even on her worst day! What a difference this can make in a believer’s life to keep her running to God and not from Him! (Genesis 3:10)