One of the most difficult inner conflicts we have is our desire to be known versus our fear of being known. As beings created in the image of God we are made to be known—known by God and also by others. Yet due to our fallen nature, all of us have sins and weaknesses that we don’t want others to know about. We use the phrase “dark side” to refer to aspects of our lives that we keep hidden. And we use slogans like “put your best foot forward” to encourage others to show their best side.
One reason we are unwilling to risk being known is that we fear rejection and ridicule. But when we discover that God knows us, loves us, and is willing to forgive even the worst thing we have done, our fear of being known by God begins to fade away. And when we find a community of believers who understands the dynamic relationship between forgiveness and confession, we feel safe confessing our sins to one another (James 5:16).
The life of faith is not about showing only our good side. It’s about exposing our dark side to the light of Christ through confession to God and also to others. In this way we can receive healing and live in the freedom of forgiveness.
Lord, help me to expose my sin, Those secret wrongs that lurk within; I would confess them all to Thee; Transparent I would always be. —D. DeHaan
The voice of sin may be loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder. —D. L. Moody
In James 5, James defines and describes the deep and intimate connection that should exist between Christian brothers and sisters. Confession (5:16) requires deep openness and revealing of that which we would rather hide—our sins. But James says that confession of sin is to be met with prayer, not judgment. He goes on to say that the healing mentioned in verse 16 is related to the covering of sins in verse 20. Confession must be coupled with a change of action. Without change, confession is merely a response to guilt feelings. Godly sorrow for sin leads to a different direction in life. When we hear others’ confessions, we help each other to continue on the path of righteousness.
When noted author Studs Terkel was looking for a topic for his next book, one of his friends suggested “death.” While he was resistant at first, the idea gradually began to take shape, but its voice became all too real when Mr. Terkel’s wife of 60 years passed away. Now the book was also a personal search: a yearning to know what lies beyond, where his loved one had just gone. Its pages are a poignant reminder of our own search for Jesus and the questions and concerns we have about eternity while we walk our faith journey.
I’m thankful for the assurance we can have that we will be with Jesus after we die if we have trusted in Him to forgive our sin. There is no greater hope. It is now our privilege to share that hope with as many as we can. First Peter 3:15 encourages us: “. . . always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” We have the opportunity from God, as David said, to “call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples” (1 Chron. 16:8).
The stories of so many people we love are not yet ended, and the privilege to tell them about the love of Jesus is a gift most precious.
I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams. I love to tell the story, it did so much for me; And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee. —Hankey
Let our days be filled with a longing— and the opportunities—to tell our story of Jesus.
The psalm David sings in 1 Chronicles 16:7-33 seems to be drawn from parts of several different psalms found in the Hebrew psalter. According to The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, the lyrics of verses 8-22 closely parallel Psalm 105:1-15. In verses 23-33, the song seems to continue with words from Psalm 96, while the remainder of the song (vv.34-36) relates to the ideas expressed in Psalm 106. In this way, David’s song resembles a modern hymn medley, where parts of several songs are combined together to express the singer’s heart of worship.
A hero to a generation of people who grew up after World War II, Corrie ten Boom left a legacy of godliness and wisdom. A victim of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, she survived to tell her story of faith and dependence on God during horrendous suffering.
“I have held many things in my hands,” Corrie once said, “and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.”
Corrie was well acquainted with loss. She lost family, possessions, and years of her life to hateful people. Yet she learned to concentrate on what could be gained spiritually and emotionally by putting everything in the hands of her heavenly Father.
What does that mean to us? What should we place in God’s hands for safekeeping? According to the story of the rich young man in Mark 10, everything. He held abundance in his hands, but when Jesus asked him to give it up, he refused. He kept his possessions and he failed to follow Jesus—and as a result he “went away sorrowful” (v.22).
Like Corrie ten Boom, we can find hope by putting everything in God’s hands and then trusting Him for the outcome.
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. —Van de Venter
No life is more secure than a life surrendered to God.
In Mark 10:1-16, Jesus taught about the demands of discipleship, including the necessity for childlike faith. Here in the encounter with a rich young man, Jesus spoke of the need to love God totally—fully and unreservedly. This young leader lacked unrivaled allegiance to God because he loved his earthly possessions more (v.22). In His teaching, Jesus had warned, “No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). The young man’s actions sadly illustrated this principle. His story is also told in Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 18:18-23. Paul too warned of the subtle lure of material riches in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.