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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 us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 ESV)

In my own experience, I find it far easier to see the sin in the lives of other people. For me, it is easier to excuse, justify, dismiss, or ignore the sin in my own life. Maybe it’s just me, but if you can relate, I hope that you’ll prayerfully and carefully consider the words of the Apostle John in today’s focal Scripture.

Anyone who claims they “have no sin” is not being honest. Once I met a well-educated man who really believed that it was possible for God’s saints to achieve sinless perfection in this life. One of the major risks we face when we fail to acknowledge the truth that true followers of Jesus will sin less but will not be sinless (in this life) is we begin to dismiss our own need for Jesus. Pride begins to sneak in as we begin imagining ourselves to be much better than we really are.

In Christ we have the beautiful promise of forgiveness when we confess the sin in our lives. I find it important to stop for a moment and remind you: for the true follower of Jesus, sin does not diminish the saving work God has and is doing in our lives. More simply, you can’t lose your salvation because of sin and failures in your life. But, more importantly, sin can and does impact our relationship with God.

Because God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), we should be careful to never ignore or minimize the Holy Spirit’s conviction in our own lives. Too often I am quick to dismiss or try to move past God’s correction. In these moments, I try to pray about everything else except what God has already revealed to me. Instead of dismissing or minimizing God’s correction, we should carefully listen and in love respond to God with the Biblical response of repentance.

I once heard of a seminary student who had written a paper for a class on 1 Timothy 1:15. The seminary student, who later became a well-known pastor and author, was a bit surprised when he received the graded paper back from the professor with a simple note in red ink: “re-read 1 Timothy 1:15, re-write your paper”. The student, confident that he had carefully examined the assigned Scripture waited until after class and approached the professor’s desk. He set his paper on the professor’s desk and pleaded his case. The professor, without even looking up, simply grabbed the paper and circled a word in the focal Scripture from 1 Timothy 1:15… any guesses what the word was?

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV)

The Apostle Paul never lost sight of an incredibly important truth: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and he was (active tense, presently) the foremost. In all his time as an apostle, serving Jesus, Paul never lost sight of His desperate need for Jesus. Have you? Before we can humbly move forward in this 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting, each of us must face the truth: we are sinners who have become saints through faith in Jesus, but the work He is doing is not complete (Philippians 1:6). Have we let pride sneak in our own lives to blind us from our own sin? How is that sin keeping us from a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus?

Father, today I confess my sin and ask for forgiveness. Lord, help me not to be generic in my life by saying things like “if I have sinned”, instead let me carefully and prayerfully seek Your guidance and correction. I need you Jesus, every day, every moment. Please help me confess of sin in my life, no matter how painful or frustrating it may be. Lord, I want to be closer to you than I ever have been before. I want to follow where You are leading. Thank you for the forgiveness and mercy I have in Jesus, it is in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Categories: Devotion