Part of the way you tell your soul to “tune in” is by becoming spiritually alert. When your soul is truly “awake,” you become aware of the grit and grime that can accumulate in your soul.
So in order to keep a clean soul, engage in the discipline of confession. Confession is a liberating and loving experience you can have with God. Follow the four C’s to begin:
1. Be candid: Tell God the truth about yourself, your struggles, and your sin. He already knows, but verbalizing the truth helps you to know yourself and your need for God.
2. Be concise: Don’t just throw vague platitudes to God like ”forgive me where I’ve fallen short.” Instead, name your sin. Be concise. Is it lust? Then say so. Is it anger? Say so. Is it pride? Tell God. This will help you claim your sin rather than decorate it and dismiss it with some spiritual sound bites.
3. Be complete: There have been many times when I’ve entered into confession with God, and I have not acknowledged the whole truth. To me, partial truth is not very different from a lie. Be complete when you confess your sin to God. You can’t surprise Him, and you can trust Him. Confess the struggle, confess the temptation, confess the fear you feel about repeating the sin. To confess means to agree with God. Don’t call something “gray” that God calls “black.” He knows the difference, and when you genuinely and completely confess, you acknowledge that you know, also.
4. Be contrite: That means be sorry, apologetic, repentant, and regretful. When we truly glimpse the ugliness of our sin, we can’t help but be regretful. It hurts us, it hurts others, and it hurts God. It’s healthy to feel regret over your sin, because your contrition is attractive to God--it leads to release from the bonds of guilt.
The 3C’s to Avoid:
1. Casual: A flippant attitude about sin is offensive to God. Sin is so serious that Jesus died to save you from it. Don’t take lightly what cost Jesus His Life.
2. Cocky: The opposite of contrition is pridefulness. Always remember, you don’t deserve forgiveness. There is no place for pride in the heart of one who humbly recognizes their need for God.
3. Condemning: It is not healthy to live in daily, constant, condemning regret over your past sin. When you have confessed your sin, God is faithful to forgive you of your sin. (1 John 1:9) That means He does not condemn you. Don’t condemn yourself. Since God removes your sin as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more, you don’t need to hold on to it, either!
The most important C I want you to remember is Cleansing! Yes, if you confess your sin, God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and to CLEANSE you of all…ALL…not just some…ALL unrighteousness. So, tell God your sin, agree with Him that it is ugly, ask Him to forgive you, trust Him to help you walk from the sin, and then thank Him for the cleansing! Whoo! Hoo! He whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36)