Seek the Lord Through Confession

Day by Day Devotions

 

Six Steps to finding God when you’re living in a crisis
Step 2  Seek the Lord
When you are in a season of crisis and want to find God, it’s important to proactively seek him. Once you have calmed your mind, (Step 1 of this series) seeking him becomes easier. When we are seeking God and want to feel his presence, we are searching for a sense that there is reciprocal communication. We want to know our prayers are heard and we want to sense God’s response back to us in our lives. Sin blocks communication with our holy God. Therefore, our first task in our search is to clear the lines of communication by confessing known sin.

The type of crisis we’re experiencing may affect our communication with God in different ways.

If we are experiencing sudden, unexpected grief and the intense pain of loss – of a loved one, an unborn child, a marriage, a home, even a very fulfilling job – that pain can lead to feeling angry at God and blaming him for the loss. It’s not likely we’ll want to turn to him for comfort if we are blaming him for taking away something we love. Anger is a normal part of the grieving process, but we must stay alert and remain aware of where we aim that anger. It’s helpful to acknowledge that our anger stems from our pain and grief.

If the source of our crisis is an abusive relationship or a relationship with a difficult person, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison. We are often so consumed with the addict or abuser’s outrageously wrong behavior; we don’t pay attention to our own. It’s very important to remember that we are still accountable for our own actions. If your drunken spouse is hurting you verbally or emotionally and you react with a loud, disrespectful verbal tirade of your own, it may seem understandable, but it’s still sinful. Our relationship with God is one-to-one; we don’t get to do wrong things in anger or out of a vengeful attitude because someone else has done something even worse to us.

“In your anger do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal
no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.  Ephesians [4:26]-32

It’s okay to be angry. God has big shoulders and many of David’s Psalms reveal that we can feel free to express our feelings to our infinite God. But we are not to use our anger and pain as an excuse for sin. It’s also interesting to note in this passage that it’s possible to grieve the Holy Spirit. Think about that! The Holy Spirit feels grief too. And this passage in Ephesians tells us we can be the cause of it! So whether we are feeling enormous pain or anger in our personal crisis – we are still accountable to the Lord for our actions.

Our feelings are valid. Our actions may not be. Spend some time reviewing your behavior. Calm your mind and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into conviction and confession. A great clue is when we feel defensive. When the Holy Spirit pricks our conscience and we find ourselves mentally defending something we said or did – it’s wise to slow down and determine if there is something of which we should repent.

God may not bring everything to the surface in your first meeting. He is a kind, patient and merciful Lord. He knows our individual weaknesses and the burdens we are bearing. Go back to him again and again. Ask him to reveal sins and mistakes. If we’ve been away for awhile, focused on our situation, and forgetting to include him – it may take several visits with him before we feel cleansed. Confess as he convicts, continuing to share your daily praises and cares.

It should be of great encouragement as we go through this process of confession, asking the Holy Spirit to convict and correct us. This active work in us is a sure reminder that he is indeed still with us!

God is always near, our search is not futile:

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6

“I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness;  I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’  I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.” Isaiah [45:19]

Do you see how confession, that not-so-fun part of our devotional time, is a necessary step in seeking God and re-opening the spiritual lines of communication when we are in crisis?

Bettina Hollingsworth