Posts Tagged ‘confession

15
Sep
08

How poor are you?

Poverty is not something many of us (any of us?!) strive for.  But when it comes to character issues poverty takes on a new meaning.

Jesus teaches,”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3)

Being “poor in spirit” means that one recognizes their spiritual bankruptcy before God. They recognize that entrance into God’s kingdom is not earned.

Luke’s Gospel records a parable told by Jesus in which he contrasts two men addressing God in the temple area. The first was a religious type, full of himself and his good deeds. He prayed thanking God that he wasn’t a sinner like other men.

The second was a tax collector, who clearly recognized that before God he had come up short. He wouldn’t even look God-ward, but instead brokenly prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Jesus concludes the parable by declaring that it was the second man that returned home in right relationship with God.

This tax collector is a picture of one who is poor in spirit, humbly acknowledging his sin and his debt and his dependency on God’s mercy to save him. The one who is poor in spirit is blessed by God and will know the reign and rule of God in his life, delivering him from the power of sin.

What do you think, are the guys you know apt to confess that when it comes to their spiritual lives they don’t measure up?

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16
Jun
08

Becoming a man of prayer – experiencing forgiveness (ch. 8)

“Many people handle guilt by repressing or internalizing it…others attempt reeducation…some seek to atone for their guilt by becoming religious…some men and women deal with guilt by punishing themselves…The problem with all of these solutions is the same, they don’t work! There is only one effective solution for true moral guilt. That solution is now accessible through prayer.”

In this chapter the author deals with the phrase ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (Mt 6:12). He suggests four stages in order to receive and to offer forgiveness.

First, we need to get honest with God and ask the Holy Spirit to show us concrete sins that we need to confess. Beltz in his prayer notebook has also made a list of character flaws so that he is regularly prompted to pray about these as well. Stage two is agreeing with what the Holy Spirit has shown us and confessing that before God in prayer, giving thanks for the forgiveness that is available to us because of Jesus’ atoning work. Sometimes there is benefit is confessing our sin before another believer (see James 5:16). Thirdly, we seek the power of God to change the defects of our character and the behaviour patterns that are not pleasing to God. Finally we check our attitudes. We need to willfully decide to extend forgiveness to those that have wronged us. This needs to be an ongoing choice so that negative emotions do not embitter us. When we have wronged others we need to attempt to make things right through asking for forgiveness from the one we have wronged and seeking to restore what our sin has damaged.

I have experienced challenges in each of these phases. Sometimes I just want to accept my flaws. Other times I mistakenly try to earn my forgiveness. For sure, it was good to be reminded to persist in choosing to forgive another so that the emotional fall-out has time to heal.

Click here for this week’s assignment.

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