Step Towards Transformation
Why Is That We Do Not Receive? Last Week We Learnt About 3 General Hindrances To Prayer
There are things we do not receive because we do not ask for them!
Illustration; Tony Evans, a popular black preacher from down in Texas, spoke of being on an elevator in a high-rise building. One day The car he was riding in got stuck in between floors way up in the higher floors. He noted that some of the people in the car became frantic. They began to beat on the door hoping to get someone’s attention. Others began to yell in the hopes that their voices would get someone on the surrounding floors to come to the aid. But nobody heard their noise or their cries.
Then Evans quietly made his way to the front of the car, opened a little door in the wall and pulled out a telephone. Immediately he was connected with someone on the outside. He didn’t need to beat on the wall to get their attention. He didn’t need to speak loudly in the phone to receive their help. He could have whispered and they would have heard him.
Evans said that – in this world, we’re going to get “stuck” in places we aren’t comfortable with. Some people begin to beat against the walls, others cry out in dismay. But the person who trusts in the power of confident prayer knows there’s someone on the other end who hears their call and comes to their aid.
“..Yet you do not have BECAUSE YOU DO NOT ASK.”(James 4:2).
Illustration: A story is told of a man who borrowed money from a widow lady, promising to invest it safely and at good interest. This man not only made poor investments with the money but failed to pay any interest to the lady. The only thing the lady could do was pray. The matter dragged on for several years. One day a Christian businessman, who had known about this situation, asked if he could buy the entire indebtedness and try to collect it. He said that if he didn’t succeed he would just write it off as a business debt. This lady and her family had prayed about this matter for many years and had just turned it over to the Lord. It was such a joy to them to see how God heard and answered their prayers through the kindness of a wealthy Christian brother
Illustration: There had been a severe drought, and the members of a rural congregation were deeply concerned that their crops would be ruined. One Sunday, therefore, the minister said to his congregation, “Brothers and sisters, I understand your deep concern about the harvest. There is nothing that will save us, except a special service of prayer for rain. The Lord promises that if we pray in FAITH, He will hear us. So go to your homes now, fast for a week, and pray. Then, next Sunday, we shall hold a service to claim the Lord’s promise because I just know it will rain next week at this same time!”
The people fasted during the week, then returned to church the following Sunday morning. But as soon as the minister saw them, he was indignant. “Go away!” he shouted. “How can you expect to claim the Lord’s promise if you have no FAITH?” “But Reverend,” they protested, “we fasted and prayed, and we have come believing that the Lord will be true to His word.”
“Believing?” exclaimed the minister. “Believing?! Then where in the world are your UMBRELLAS?”
Mark 11: 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, BELIEVE THAT YOU RECEIVE THEM, AND YOU WILL HAVE THEM.
Illustration : Suppose I invite you to my house for dinner. I told you we were having chicken biryani. I was going to make it. Just suppose! I told you I would need wheat flour, baking soda, chic-peas, water, milk, vinegar. You would think I was crazy. Those ingredients don’t make chicken biryani. You say “Why can’t I make it the way I want too?”
God says love and obey me, I’ll give you such happiness that you can barely handle it. But we tell Him that we want to do it ourself. We put anger, hostility, sex, narcotics, pride, and we wonder why it don’t work. God says you don’t have what you want because you demand to do it your way and You create hell on earth and most of the time blame God when the biryani of life you make is a disaster and don’t taste good anymore.
God may not be blessing you the way you want to be blessed because He is trying to save you from a bunch of future problems.
James 4: 3 When you ask, you do not receive, BECAUSE YOU ASK WITH WRONG MOTIVES, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Illustration: There is an old legend that Midas, one of the Phrygian kings, performed some acts of kindness for which the gods promised to give him whatever he should ask. His request was that everything he touched should turn to gold. For a while it seemed that he was most fortunate in his request, but as the very food he touched was changed to gold, he soon besought the gods to take back their fatal gift. Aren’t you glad that our God does not give us everything we ask? How terrible it would be if God did answer our selfish prayers. We ought to thank Him that He doesn’t instead of complaining against Him. As a child of God we need to be aspiring to higher motives, not leaning to the old lust of this world.
Today we will learn about one spiritual hindrance- Spiritual Hindrance BY Sin And Unconfessed Sin
John 9:31a…We know that God does not listen to sinners.
What is Sin
1 John 3:4….Sin is the transgression of the Law of God
Not all sins are considered crimes (e.g., adultery). In general, every justly-defined crime is a sin.
Illustration: A distinguished minister preached on sin, and one of his church officers afterwards came into his study to see him. He said to the minister, “Pastor, we don’t want you to talk as plainly as you do about sin, because if our boys and girls hear you talking so much about sin they will more easily become sinners. Call it a mistake if you will, but do not speak so plainly about sin.” Then the minister took down a small bottle and showed it to the officer. It was a bottle of poison and was marked, “Poison.” Said he, “I see what you want me to do. You want me to change the label. Suppose I take off this label of ‘Poison’ and put on some mild label, such as ‘Cough Syrup,’ don’t you see what happens? The milder you make your label, the more dangerous you make your poison.”
It really does not matter what we may clothe ourselves in, if there is sin in the heart it is only a matter of time before it will ruin you and come to light.
Sin is always disguised when it tries to enter our lives. It comes in decked in the finest of clothing, it comes perfumed, and it tricks itself into our lives.
Nothing Can Cover Sin – YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT
Illustration: Harry who was 18 years old when he stole his first and only item. He was a bag packer at a local grocery store. The store had some small battery operated record players. A lot of the record players did not operate correctly so they were stored in the basement for disposal. One night before leaving the store he pushed one of these small players through a slot in a back door and drove his car to the back of the store and recovered it. Fortunately the one he got played. He never felt guilty or worried about being caught. Soon his carelessness was forgotten.
He eventually became a store manager with this same store. After an inventory it was discovered that several hundreds of dollars worth of meat products were missing. Since he was one of a few who had keys to the store he became a prime suspect. He was asked by the owner to submit to a polygraph test. Being innocent he readily agreed. As the examiner began the test, he informed him of the questions he would be asking. The first question was “Have you ever stolen any merchandise from this store?” That carelessness so easily forgotten suddenly came rushing back. He knew that to answer “No” would show as a lie and link him in something more serious than a small record player. He was forced to confess to a theft that had taken place 10 years earlier. However, in doing so it proved his innocence in a more serious matter.
Numbers 32:23 … But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.
We may think we have escaped being caught but the day will come when all unconfessed sin will be exposed. It is for our benefit to confess them now.
Prov. 28:13.. He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Illustration: Sohan was a traveling salesman married to two women at the same time! He had a home with one wife in one town. The other wife lived with him in another town. Sohan was able to pull off this double marriage off by telling his wives that his job prevented him from being home full time. So he would spend a few days with wife #1 and call wife #2 every day to tell her how much he missed being with her. Then after a few days Sohan would leave wife #1 telling her he was going on a sales trip and then go home to wife #2. Once again, he’d call wife #1 every day telling her how much he missed being with her. This polygamist arrangement had been going on for 18 years.
Well, Sohan seems to think he is covering it well! One day, both wives got sick and ended up in one Hospital at the same time! Sohan would go to visit with wife #1 and then walk down the hall and visit wife #2. A doctor discovered the game Sohan was playing. He decided to say nothing at first, but the hospital was going to put both women in the same room. the doctor didn’t want a big scene in the hospital so he ordered that the women be kept in separate rooms. Then he called Sohan and told him what was happening.Well, just to be safe, Sohan didn’t show up at the hospital for 2 days. Wife #1 got very angry with him for not being there with her. When he finally returned to the hospital Sohan walked into the room of Wife #1 and she was angry. She screamed, “You weren’t here when I needed you! You can just get out of my life!” Sohan tried to explain the he had to be out of town on a sales trip, but she wouldn’t listen. So Sohan went down the hall to the other wife. Since wife #1 had told him never to come back, he decided to stay full time now with wife #2 and not say anything to her about the other wife.Looks like Sohan might get away with his sin after all! The next day when Sohan went to the hospital he was told that wife #2 could go home. He helped her gather up all her things and watched as a nurse helped wife #2 get into a wheelchair for the ride to the hospital exit. When Sohan and wife #2 were waiting to get on the elevator, wife #1 saw Sohan and came running up to apologize. She said, “Honey,” I’m sorry. Take me home.” When wife #2 wanted to know what was going on Sohan was trapped. His sins found him out! And that’s the point: your sins will find you out!
Illustration: King David had an affair with Bathsheba. She got pregnant. What did David do?
2 Samuel 11: 6-8…6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him.
David is looking for a way to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. He brought her husband Uriah home from battle. He thinks if Uriah sleeps with his wife, then everyone will think Bathsheba’s baby is Uriah’s.
2 Samuel 11: 9-11..9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”
What David didn’t foresee was the integrity of Uriah! He wouldn’t sleep with his wife!
Our sins will always find us out because: #1: There are unexpected complications
Your sins will find you out:Point #2. Because There Are Consequences To Sin.
Every action causes a reaction.
We find David’s admission in Psalm 32.
Psalms 32:3-4 “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.”
As a consequence, the child he had with Bathsheba was going to die. Immediately David fasted and prayed for seven days, but ultimately his child did die.
2 Samuel 12:16-18…16 Then David prayed to God for the child and fasted. He would even go and spend the night lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his house stood over him and tried to lift him from the ground, but he was unwilling, and refused to eat food with them.18 On the seventh day the child died.
Illustration: Many years ago, a preacher named Jeremy Spencer described sin this way:
Isaiah 59:1-2 ..“Surely the Lord’s power is enough to save you. He can hear you when you ask him for help. It is your evil that has separated you from your God. Your sins cause him to turn away from you, so he does not hear you.”
True—all of us have sinned. But if we hold to a sin, and love it, and make an justification for it, and excuse it—then that puts a separation between God and me.
It short-circuits the communication system, and I am just wasting my time even trying to pray.
Psalm 66:18…. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”
If you love a sin, and if in your heart you are excusing it—it is going to hinder your prayers. The solution is to get it confessed and forsaken, and to restore fellowship with God.
Illustration: A Christian night-attendant in a city drugstore tells of his experience with prayer. The store was open all night to fill emergency prescriptions. The attendant slept on a couch at the rear of the store, and one who wanted service during the night rang a buzzer at the front door. The attendant was just about sleeping one dark, rainy, dismal night—when he was aroused by the buzzer. When he answered the door, it was a little boy, who said, “Please mister, get this medicine as soon as you can; my mommy is awful sick.” Sleepily and hurriedly he filled the prescription and the boy was off. After the boy had gone, the pharmacist put away the bottles and recorded the prescription—only to notice to his horror that he had given the boy a deadly poison, instead of the medicine he had intended to give. The pharmacist did not know which way the boy had gone; it was raining and dark outside; he looked in the phone book, but there was no name to match his record. And then he did as we often sing—”What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer”—he went back to his cot and on his knees asked God to overrule this tragic mistake for His own glory. He then lay down again.
Soon the night attendant was aroused by the buzzer again. It was the same little boy. He was crying fiercely. He said, “I was running down the street to get this medicine home as soon as I could, and I slipped and fell and broke the bottle. Will you please fill it again?” You see—God overruled this tragic mistake in answer to the prayer of a humble Christian.
There Are Two Forms Of Sin:
Psalm 19:12-13 — “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from SECRET OR HIDDEN FAULTS.” “Keep back thy servant also from PRESUMPTUOUS SINS; …David shows us sin in at least two different forms: “hidden faults” and “presumptuous sins.” One is like a trapdoor that swings out from underfoot, and the other is like a double-door seen from a distance and approached.
Illustration: Suppose If you see a sign to go in the left lane and no entry in the straight lane, you are supposed to make a left turn. I was in the left lane but did not notice the sign and was not familiar with that road. I did not turn onto left but continued going straight. Sure enough, a policeman saw me and pulled me over. I showed him my license and explained that I had just moved into the neighbourhood. He let me go with a warning because I sinned “out of ignorance.”
But suppose the next day I did the same thing. And suppose I kept on doing the same thing, and suppose the same policeman saw me and pulled me over? Do you think he would let me off the hook? No, I do not think so because then it would be a “presumptuous sin” on my part.
David Said That Presumptuous Sin Is A Great Transgression (Psa. 19:13)
Illustration: Historian and art critic Robert Hughes tells of a convict sentenced to life imprisonment on a maximum-security island off the coast of Australia. One day, with no provocation he turned on a fellow prisoner and beat him senseless. Authorities shipped the murderer back to the mainland to stand trial, whereupon he gave a straightforward, passionless account of the crime. He showed no sign of remorse and denied having held any grudge against the victim. “Why, then?” asked the bewildered judge. “What was your motive?” The prisoner replied that he was sick of life on the island, a notoriously brutal place, and saw no reason to keep on living. “Yes, yes, I understand all that,” said the judge. “I can see why you might drown yourself in the ocean. But murder? Why murder?” “Well, I figure it’s like this,” said the prisoner. “I’m a Catholic. If I commit suicide I’ll go straight to hell. But if I murder I can come back here to Sydney and confess to a priest before my execution. That way, God will forgive me.”
Illustration: Brethren, let’s take tithing for example. You know what the Bible says about tithing. You know what the Bible teaches about tithing. Yet when financial troubles come, you begin to rationalize in your mind how it is all right to use Gods tithe to pay your bills; and you are presuming that God Almighty will do absolutely nothing about your sin of thievery. That is not the God of the Bible. God will judge your sin of stealing. In Malachi 3:8-9, the Bible says, Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me,…
Why Are Presumptuous Sins Especially Dangerous?
Presumptuous sins are especially dangerous because those who commit them despise the Word of God
Numbers 15:31. Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him
I Sam. 2:30 God says, “For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed”
Illustration: I heard an old story about a king who was well known for his patience and gentle forbearance. But he had a certain servant who took advantage of this king’s kindly disposition. With every transgression and every pardon, the servant became more and more reckless and impudent, and eventually presumed to do just about anything with impunity.
One day the servant entered the presence of the king with his hat on. The king rebuked him for his disrespect and the servant said, “I have a cold and so I must keep it on.” The king then said, “You will never catch a cold again,” and then had his head cut off. One of the king’s friends was surprised and said, “You often pardoned him for far more serious crimes.” The king replied, “Yes, but when the cup is full to the brim it will not do to add a single drop, because it will then run over.”
The Moral Of This Story: The Overflowing Cup Of God’s Mercy Is Wrath For The Presumptuous And Unrepentant Sinner.
A presumptuous sin is a sin that relies on the success of the past. It is committed with the idea that since God hasn’t judged me yet, so He probably won’t judge me at all. God forgave me the last time I sinned and it’s apparent that He did nothing about my sin; therefore He will do nothing the next time I sin.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
We need to ask God as David said- Cleanse me from my secret faults. Save me from my presumptuous sins
Psalm 139:23-24 — “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” “And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Prov. 28:13.. He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Sin that is unconfessed, sin that is unlamented, sin with a justification, sin that is excused, sin with no self-judgement, is certain to bring a terrible curse.
Illustration : The Devastating Effect Of Hidden Sin In The Life Of A Child Of God.
1-Sin Brings Defeat And Ruin!
Joshua 7:2-5 & 11-12… 2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you
There was an unconfessed sin between God and Israel, so the boldness that God had earlier put in the hearts of the Israelite soldiers was now departed! 3,000 men turned and ran like children before the enemy. 36 were killed. The entire nation was burdened with the shame and disgrace that came with their defeat at Ai. But that is exactly what the Scripture forewarns in Prov. 28:13 – “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.”
Covered sins bring failure. Or we can say.. Failure is caused by sin.
Too many Christians have come to think that defeat is a natural part of the Christian life.
If We Do Not Prosper Physically, It Is SOMETIMES Because Of Unconfessed Sin; But If We Do Not Prosper Spiritually, It Is ALWAYS The Result Of Hidden Sin.
So what should we do? Someone will say, “We must pray.” But…..
2- There Are Times When Something Else Must Come Before Prayer!
Joshua 7:6-13.. 6 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”
10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, 12 ….Neither will I be with you 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”
Someone has said, “There is nothing as important as prayer…until after you have prayed.” In most cases, this is true. But this passage shows us that sometimes prayer is out of order. Sometimes prayer will not get results. Sometimes something else must happen before God will hear our prayer. See Joshua on his face before God, weeping and praying. Then the Lord speaks roughly to him, “Get up! Why are you on your face?” Then God told him that Israel had sinned and all the praying in the world would not receive an answer until they fixed the problem.
Notice what God says in vs. 12 & 13.
I am reminded of Matt. 5:23-24.. Before you sing for God, or preach for God, or give money for God, or pray to God…confess and forsake your sin.
It is wonderful to pray when we are on praying ground and pleading terms with God; but many prayers never get as high as the ceiling. To many of us, God would say, “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? and “ Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you..”
3- Find The Sin Yourself.
Joshua 7:14-18… 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man. 15 Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
Are we accountable for sins that we don’t know about? Yes! It is our business to know. We ought to be so diligently on the lookout for sin in our lives that we spot it the instant it appears.
Illustration: A church member told me he would quit chewing tobacco when the Lord convicted him to quit. That’s like saying, “I started this sin but it’s continuation is God’s fault.”
It is not God’s responsibility to make us know what anyone could find out, if they just looked. If God had wronged us, and broken fellowship with us, it would be God’s part to find out what was wrong and correct it. But since we sin against God and break the fellowship it is always our responsibility to find the hindering cause and make it right.
Israel had sinned; so Israel must find the sinner and punish the sin and take sides with God against wickedness. It will never be any easier to do than right now right here.
4-The Progress Of Sin.
Joshua 7:19-21.. 19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21 When I SAW among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I COVETED them and TOOK them. And there they are, HIDDEN in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
Note the progress of Achan’s sin.
That sin which first came between you and God is bad, but that is not the last step in the progress of sin. The final stage, and by far the worst, is to try to hide the sin.
5-Hidden In The Tent.
Joshua 7:22-23.. 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.
In public Achan probably seemed as good an Israelite as anyone in the camp. But Achan’s sin was not in public; it was in private. It was not in the house of worship, but back hidden in his own tent.
There may be someone here who is under the misconception that there is nothing wrong with your life because you attend church, sing in the choir, give your money, etc. But it is not so much in public but in private that our lives dishonor God.
Search the secret closets of your heart. See what you love and what you hate. Examine the motives that control your actions. Are you willing to unroll all the secret thoughts and processes of your heart before the Lord Jesus?
6-The Judgment Of God Upon Unconfessed Sin.
Joshua 7:24-25.. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
Achan need not have died! Achan covered his sin. He hid his stolen treasures. He did not confess his sins until they were already discovered. He never seemed willing to admit the awful nature of his guilt. So Achan died in a public execution. But Achan need not have died.
There is only one way for daily cleansing for a Christian.
I Jn. 1:9–“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Our churches are filled with people who have never repented over their sin. Nowadays people feel they can keep on sinning presumptuously and get away with it. They are terribly mistaken.
True confession of sin means being completely honest about your sin. We must face our sin honestly and we must admit our guilt.
Illustration: A woman once came to D.L. Moody and asked his help with a big problem she had. She told him, “I have a habit of exaggeration. Can you tell me how to overcome this bad habit of mine?” Moody got right to the point. “Yes, the next time you are guilty of that sin, simply go to the person to whom you exaggerated and confess that you lied and that you were ashamed and sorry for it.” “Oh, but I wouldn’t call it a lie!” said the woman. “Yes,” said Moody, “but if you do not call it a lie you will not quit it.”
As long as we hesitate around with sin we will not get victory over it. Too many Christians try and minimize their sin, and gloss over their sin, and make excuses for their sin, and blame others for their sin, etc.
James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
It is interesting to notice that James encourages us here to confess our sins to one another and then to pray for healing. Healing cannot occur without the confession of our hidden sins. Unwillingness to confess sins will hinder the healing process of that person. Here is a true story that illustrates this very well.
Illustration: “A couple had become estranged. They couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment their relationship had broken down, but over the years, they had drifted apart until they were strangers-and enemies-in the same house. Humanely speaking, reconciliation was impossible. Too many feelings had been hurt. Too many harsh words had been said. Love had long ago been replaced by hatred. Over time, the woman began to suffer from intense, chronic back pain, which escalated to the point that she was finally hospitalized. When a group of elders from her church went to visit her, her neck and back was so still that she couldn’t even turn her head. Tears of pain poured down her cheeks as they knelt around her bed and placed their hands on her. During his prayer, one of the elders became inspired to quote parts of James 5. “Lord,” he said, graciously and quietly, “if there be anything in this woman’s life that may not be right, if maybe there might be some barrier, some sinfulness, we pray that you will bring it to her attention and give her the honesty and vulnerability to confess it.”
“Stop, stop!” she cried. The elders looked up, amazed. “All of you, stand up!” They complied. “You need to know that I used to live a double life,” she confessed. Her tears flowed freely as she described her immoral background. Then she finished by admitting that she had never told anyone, not even her husband, and she had never brought it before the Lord. Just then her husband entered the room. She looked up and began pouring out her heart to him. She told him everything, and in the end, he took her in his arms and forgave her. What happened next was incredible. This lady, whose pain was so intense she couldn’t even move her head, jumped out of bed and hugged everyone. The pain was completely gone!”
Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.