Accountability

June 26, 2020

 Matthew 6:9–15

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

As we close out this topic of prayer, I think it is helpful to talk about addictions. There are sins we commit because we have become addicted to something and we find that prayer is not helping. We are all addicted to sin, but some forms of sin capture our attention in such a way as to build up a physical need that is also linked to the mental desire.

A drug addict for example, has a physical need for the drug and not just a mental desire for the experience. His body craves the substance which in turn entices the mind to seek it. Alcohol addictions operate in much the same way.

Those addicted to pornography find themselves in the same predicament. The chemicals in the brain have become dependent on the sensory experiences and those activities have become like a drug.

We have come to understand that prayer is sometimes not enough. We need the help of other people who can guide us out of the addictive cycles. We need someone to come alongside and walk with us as we work to free ourselves from an addiction.

We continue to pray because we know that God is our only source of power to break the chains that bind us, but we also look for help from a trusted Christian friend, or a Christian based program that will hold us accountable for our actions.

To continue in an addiction, praying for help but never allowing help to come alongside is a painful and lonely experience. Many people just give up and stop praying. Pease don’t do that, seek help!

There are other addictions that we consider far less serious but also have the potential cause great harm. We don’t often think of these things as addictions but pride can become very addictive. “What do people think of me?” becomes the theme for our social media. “What does my picture look like?” causes people to continuously search or newer and better “selfies” to post. How much time do you spend on your phone? Is it to the neglect of the people around you? There are now programs to help with our phone addiction.

Anger can become addictive, envy can often be the thing that fuels a social media addiction. Greed can become so addictive that people spend all their time, something that can never be recovered, to make money that can be easily lost. Eating is  very necessary thing that can become an addiction as well. We can even be addicted to doing absolutely nothing, it’s called laziness.

Having problems with these things? You pray and pray but nothing changes? It may be time to make yourself accountable to someone else who can not only pray for you but walk with you in your journey to recovery.



Confess to Others

June 25, 2020

 Matthew 6:9–15

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Confess your sins to yourself, confess your sins to God and finally, confess your sins to one another.

As believers, we are called to serve God and to serve one another. We have already talked about how important it is to forgive others and how that our forgiveness from God is linked to our willingness to forgive those who sin against us. But what if we have sinned against others? In order for them to forgive us, we may need to confess our sin to them, in other words, agree with them that we were wrong.

James 5:18 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5:23 when he said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

To whom should you confess? Answer: The people who have something against you. There should be a conversation and if you have sinned there needs to be a confession leading to reconciliation.

I think there are situations when it is inappropriate to confess. I heard of a mission team of men and women who read James 5:18 and began to confess to one another of their evil thoughts towards each other. One woman said, “I confess that I think the men on this team are stupid most of the time.” One man said, “I confess I have had lustful thoughts about all the women on our trip.” Some of the other confessions were even worse. Needless to say, these confessions did nothing to strengthen their relationships. The team disbanded, trust was never restored, and some never went back to church.

Some sins, particularly sinful thoughts, should only be confessed to God. Evil thoughts, personal misconduct, evil desires are things we need to be working on with God through his word. Sometimes it is appropriate to find a Christian friend or counselor to help us, but be very careful to find someone who has the maturity and spiritual insight to help and not make things worse. Paul said to confess our faults (different word than sin) one to another which may have more to do with the sin in our heart that is causing us to commit sin. Asking people to help you with your pride may be more useful that confessing every prideful behavior.

 

 



Confess to God

June 24, 2020

 Matthew 6:9–15

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

David said in Psalm 51:4 “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”

Yesterday I said we first must confess our sins to ourselves, in other words, see the wrong thing we have done and the sin behind it. If we are not aware we have sinned, if we have an enormous blind spot, we will feel no need to confess to God.

When we see our sin, when we say to ourselves “yes this was wrong” we bring it to God. Confession to God means we agree with God about our sin. But not just that it is wrong, but that it is also destructive. God hates sin because it destroys the people he loves.

I think we can all agree that we hate cancer. Cancer has taken someone from all of us, it has caused so much pain and destruction in our families that we fear the very word cancer. The worst thing possible is to have your child suffering because of cancer. Sin is like the cancer we don’t see, but God sees it and he is in pain for us because he sees the devastation it causes to his children. God hates sin.

When we confess our sin, when we agree with God about our sin, about how destructive it is, about how it causes pain to the Father, he forgives us and cleanses us. We don’t confess to make him aware of our sin, he knows already. We confess each sin and try to see from God’s perspective how each sin has the potential to destroy us.

Here’s what we often do: “Father I lied, but it wasn’t a big lie, not as big as other people’s lies. Father I cursed in anger, but it wasn’t a really bad word and I had a right to be angry. Father I was rude to my spouse, but they should have known I was tired and cranky and just left me alone.”

When we compare our sin to others we are compromising our agreement with God. Try this on your spouse and see if it works: “Forgive me, I was wrong to do that, but…” No matter what follows “but” it will cause forgiveness to pause.

Take enough time in your confession before God to eliminate all the excuses. Agree with him about your sin and you will be clean.  

 

 

 

 




Daily Devotions 2020