Everyone encounters those times in their faith journey when each turn they make in their relationship with God reveals an ugly sin they had no clue could exist inside of them.
This past month has been one of those times for me.
Maybe it’s because I’m newly married. Living with another person often brings a mirror and a flashlight on the parts of your life you thought were hidden. What you do before you go to bed at night or when you get up in the morning now doesn’t just affect you, it affects another person. My husband has already (lovingly) pointed out idols and bad habits that I didn’t even realize I had. God is using him to slowly bring to light the darkness in me.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been uprooted from my comfort zone. I’ve lived in the same city for 22 years. I have spent the last three and a half years independent and living on a college campus. My last name has been Webb. Now everything has changed (and I still haven’t gotten used to writing my new name). All the things I relied upon for comfort and security have been stripped away, all the secret idols that remained because of my complacency. In moving, the dusty little creatures in my closet have come to broad daylight. It’s not always pretty.
Whatever it is, I realize that God intends for this to be an especially sanctifying time in my life. I’m sometimes discouraged seeing so much sin and so much worldliness in me. There have been some days I didn’t want to spend time in the Word and prayer because I knew I would be convicted. I get overwhelmed at the vastness of my sin and the amount I have to work on. It’s in those moments God reminds me:
My grace is sufficient for you. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It’s that sweet, sweet reminder of our Savior’s grace that pushes me to seek purity, to rid myself of the sin that has remained in my life too long. For it’s not me who lives in me, but Christ who lives within me (Galatians 2:20). He has already covered me with his righteousness, and now works in me to make me pure (Philippians 2:12-13).
You could be reading this and thinking that you’re good, you’ve only got a few little harmless sins hidden. No biggie. God promises that our sins will be brought to light (Ephesians 5:13). 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse has two great promises. First, God promises to completely forgive us of any sin we commit, nothing is too awful for him to wipe clean. Second, he promises to change us from the inside out. He doesn’t just forgive us and leave us alone; he takes away the roots of those sins.
Encouraged by these passages, this has been my prayer the past month. I hope that you can use this prayer to as a way to free yourself from the bondage of sin and run in the freedom of his forgiveness and righteousness. Excerpts of this prayer are taken from Psalm 139:23-24, 1 John 1:8-9, and James 5:16.
Father, search me. Find any of the sins I have been hiding from you, from others, and even myself. Know my heart, even the parts that I’m ashamed of. Try me and know my thoughts. Show me the roots of my sin that originate in the way I think and feel. And see if there is any grievous way in me. Show me the big things and the small things, anything that is contaminating my purity. Mostly, Father, lead me in the way everlasting and help me to overcome these sins with your power and grace.
Father, with these list of sins before me, I confess each one by name. I know that I am full of sin, but I also know that you are faithful and just. You have placed your wrath against my sin upon your Son, and now you look at me with your righteousness. Father, forgive me of my sins. Help me to repent of them, starting with the inside, my mind and heart, and ending with the outside, my words and actions.
Father, give me the courage to confess my sins to another believer so that they can keep me accountable. I want to be healed and free from these sins, therefore give me someone who will encourage me and pray for me. For I know that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
In your holy Son’s name, amen.