Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Satan's Lies, Cont.

5. Put it off: The next thing is to procrastinate, or put it off. We mentioned this already. Let us suppose my joy level is high, but then I have a collision with my wife at 8 o’clock in the morning. As soon as it is over I know that I was in the wrong. I know it, but I think, “This is not the right time to admit it, so I will confess it tonight when I go to bed.” No sense letting her know I was wrong now. If I confess it to God now, I will probably have to confess it to her now, so I will just wait and confess it tonight when I go to bed.” So what happens to my day? It is an awful day! Not only do I stay under discipline of the Lord for that sin, I collect up a few more sins during the day because I am in no condition to withstand any temptation that comes my way. Nobody else at work can do anything right because I am not walking in the light.

I promised the Lord in the morning that when I confessed my sin that night, I would not justify myself, I would not say I was right, I would not excuse myself, I would not hide it, I would not blame my wife. I would confess it openly and honestly later.

So I am going to keep my word. At 11 o’clock at night I confess all dozen sins. I am back in the joy of the Lord for 8 hours while I am sleeping. I have perfect fellowship with God. I do the same thing again tomorrow; I put it off till bedtime, confess all of my sins and have 8 more hours of peace with God and the joy in the Lord.

It is funny isn’t it! I have had lots of people say to me, “Jim I confess my sins every night before I go to bed,” and they do not laugh when they say that because they thought for some reason that was the right thing to do. Yes, it is better than not confessing, but if they had confessed it when it occurred, most of the others would not have happened, and they would have gone through the day in joy. Most people don’t even confess at night.

6. Vague terms: They will accumulate sins all day, and then they will get in bed and will say, “Lord, please forgive me for anything I might have done today,” and roll over and go to sleep. That is called “vague terms” or the general confession. The result is, you have 8 hours of no joy, instead of 8 hours of perfect joy.

A woman came up to me one time at an Air Force base quite a few years ago, and said, “I want to tell you that my husband has been quoting you from 10 years ago when you were in Monterey.” I was afraid to hear what I supposedly had said in Monterey. I don’t recall saying it; I just recall her telling me. But it was this: “You cannot go to bed dirty and expect to wake up clean.” That is very true.

If you have a physically dirty, cruddy job all day, you do not say, “Boy, I can hardly wait to get in between the clean sheets so I can wake up clean tomorrow morning. A lot of people think, “Well, tomorrow’s another day. All of this is history. All this is water over the dam or under the bridge; I’ll start clean tomorrow.” No way will you start clean tomorrow! You will start with what you accumulated yesterday. So if you want to wake up clean, you go to bed clean. That is very true.

There is a case where general confession is true and right, only after the specific sins have been taken care of. General confession will probably cover things that you did not do that you should have done. Psalm 19:12 says, “Cleanse me from secret faults,” (NKJV). There is such a thing as a secret fault. But don’t call them secret if they are not secret. You do not make them secret; You do not hide them.

There may be things that you do not know that God knows. I think I John 1:9 also covers that when it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins...” Which sins? The ones we have confessed, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. After the confession of the sins, there is a cleansing of all other unrighteousness. This is not a repetition. This is the faithfulness of God continuing the work of cleaning.

7. Mistakes – errors in judgment: In the last several years we have heard of some
situations on television of politicians and television evangelists who have gotten into moral trouble. In several cases they have not said it was moral trouble. Do not use a euphemism for sin. It will not get forgiven. They said, “I made a mistake.” A mistake is 2+2=5. That is not a sin. That just says you are incompetent, not immoral. Those people would rather be incompetent than immoral. God does not forgive incompetence. He forgives immorality. If we call immorality, immorality, it gets forgiven. But if we call it something else, it does not get forgiven. People call it something else. It is just another form of justification, just another way to say, “I wasn’t really at fault.”

8. Too many: Over 40 years ago I was talking with a young woman who said, “If I had to confess all of my sins specifically, it would take me 10 years.” I assured her it would not if she would start confessing. People who say there are too many just do not want to start. She was right with the Lord before the weekend was over.

When my youngest son was 15, I was getting ready to make one of my trips to the East Coast when I realized I had to have a visit with him before I left because things weren’t going too well. So he came into my little study and we sat down. He took the floor. He had seen me give this talk privately and publicly several times, so he knew it. He started right in and said, “Dad, if I started confessing my sins right now, and continued for the next 10 years, it would only bring me up to mediocre.”

I said, “If I were you, I would get started.” When I called home from my trip, he answered the phone. I wanted to talk with his mother, but he wanted to talk with me. I couldn’t get him off the phone. He said, “Dad, I want you to know that my room is spotless.” I said, “Would you please give me an explanation for that?” He said, “Well, when you are clean on the inside, it is easy to be clean on the outside.” It did not take him 10 years. He got cleaned up on the inside then wanted to be clean on the outside.

There are never too many sins to confess. The Scripture says, But where sin abounded grace abounded much more. (Romans 5:20 NKJV). You cannot out-sin the Grace of God. Why am I saying to be specific on these sins? Because one of the reasons is that confession is made of three things:

1) knowledge of what you have done,
2) admission of what you have done and
3) the intention to forsake what you have done.

When you confess, you know what you have done, you admit what you have done, and you have every intention of renouncing what you’ve done. That is why it has to be specific.

9. I cannot remember all of my sins: That is probably true, but the ones you cannot
remember are not the ones that are bothering you anyhow, so start naming the ones you do remember. As you name those, your joy will come back up, and very likely your memory will get better as you get closer to God.

(An excerpt from How to Maintain Joy in Your Life by Jim Wilson)

Lies, 10-14, will be posted tomorrow.

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