6/6/13 - PTC_Proverbs 28 - "What are you hiding?"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.
Proverbs 28:13 (ESV)
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
"Whoever." This is one of those universal bits of wisdom that everyone needs to listen to.
Study note: When you are reading the text, notice the verbs that are listed, often these will transfer to application very quickly. We are looking at a contrast between two critical actions: Concealing and Confessing. These are the two basic responses we all choose from when we sin. No one likes to admit wrong. We all prefer for our transgressions to stay hidden and secret. The problem is, they never do. Our sin has a way of reaching the surface of our lives in one way or another. It blows my mind every time i see a news story of another Christian leader whose immorality is discovered. The things that are done seem extreme but they were concealed, obviously with the hope of never being brought to light. It's a reminder that sin finds us out. This reality check should cause us to pause and think about what we are doing, but sadly, our desire to gratify self can be a powerful force. Our sinful desire can cause us to be blind to some of the most obviously foolish choices.
"Will not prosper" this is the other side of the reality check. Those who conceal their transgressions don't prosper. Their lives suffer. Not only do they suffer from consequences of being "found out," they also suffer from bearing the silent burden of shame. Sin is a weight that humans were never meant to carry. Sin is so heavy that God in His great love sent His only Son, Jesus to bear the brunt of sin and the following judgment for all people.
Sin is like taking on weight. Occasionally, in my fitness training I'll wear a weighted vest. The vest I use is 20 pounds. When that thing is strapped on, it makes everything I do harder. That's the whole point from a fitness perspective. In life you don't want or need the extra weight. This is why we read in Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
God wants our lives to feel light and free from the weight of sin. He did not design us to carry that guilt, that fear of consequences or that fear of getting caught. Amazingly, God is aware and even expectant of our sin, yet still offers the grace of a life that feels easy and light through faith in Jesus. This Proverb points to that freedom.
When our tendency is to conceal God's wisdom says confess. Confession is scary. Confession means admitting failure. Confession means people will know we are sinners (did you think they were unclear?). Confession is a recognized spiritual discipling in Scripture but rarely discussed today. Confession is actually the first step in the right direction, the remaining verb here is "forsake." This word is vital and the one that usually comes up short. What does it mean? It means to walk away or abandon. It's a word we hear in wedding ceremonies, "do you promise to love, honor, trust and serve…forsaking all others…" The idea of forsaking carries with it a sense of narrowing my focus. Many marriages need to work on the discipline of forsaking…i'll save that for another post! This is why so many marriages can't heal from the poor choices of the past. Most couples can reach a place of confession but forsaking becomes the problem. We are more addicted to our sin than we realize. Breaking the patterns that lead to the bad choices is not an easy task.
"Will obtain mercy" Here's the hope. If we confess and forsake we find mercy. The confidence in this passage points to a kind of mercy that we rarely find in people. I believe this principle is mostly true even among people. Mercy is typically more available and more willingly given when sin is confessed vs. discovered. Without confessing and forsaking we give little confidence to others that mercy would be appreciated. That is why i believe this passage points to the mercy of God. His mercy can be counted on. This is why carrying our sin and trying to hide from God is so foolish - He promises MERCY! Why in the world would we hide? There are countless people who thing God is angry with them. Make no mistake, God is angry about sin. However, because of Jesus God can be happy with you. When we come to God with confession and a heart to forsake it, we experience His mercy. We are reminded that our sin is why Jesus came to die and his sacrifice made it ok.
Here's the convicting question…what are you hiding? Do you need to finally stop the act and confess your sin to God and forsake it? Do you need to go to a friend and confess your sin and ask for mercy? I have found that practicing confession to another believer, though not required by God, can be a very helpful way to break the grip of silence your sin seeks to maintain.
Some of you, like me, have confessed sin with little commitment to actually forsake it. I think this is where we violate the wisdom of this truth. Many of us need to work on our forsaking skills. What is it you need to walk away from? Think about the most important relationships in your life, what is it your do (or don't do) that causes those relationships harm? Forsake it.
God, there are so many times I fail to confess my sin because I trust your mercy and grace, the problem is light-hearted confession leads to weak forsaking. Lord, i need not ever think a sin is small. God I pray for those reading this post that You give them fresh courage to come clean with their sin. I pray for anyone that doesn't know you as Savior and Lord to call to You NOW. God keep us from concealing, concealing only makes it seem more difficult to come back to you. God break the hold of sin and silence so many struggle with. I pray that we would be people marked by mercy and walking testaments of your grace in our lives.
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