Scripture text for Friday, March 19th, 2010: Matthew 3:13-4:17
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Our passage today ends with “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” Jesus began his preaching career by calling the world to repentance. Too often we forget this important first step in our spiritual journeys.
When I was a kid growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, I would regularly sit before a priest and confess all of the ways that I had sinned against God, or at least all of the ways that I could remember. There were a lot. Still are.
After I had sufficiently shared my heart, the priest would speak in a loud, booming voice, “you have been forgiven!” I can remember leaving the church with a deep sense of peace and calm. It felt good to release the burden of sin. It felt even better to know that I was forgiven. It still does.
Jesus began his preaching with repentance because his offer of forgiveness means nothing without our recognition and naming of the ways that we choose to stick God on the sidelines of our daily lives. Unless we painfully acknowledge those moments in our days when we ignore God’s moral leading, we never experience the profound relief of being washed clean through God’s grace.
Have you confessed to God where you have ignored God this week? “Sorry God for my sins” is not enough. Have you taken personal responsibility for your various sins?
Name your sins for God this morning. Share them with God, one by one, as you remember them.
Then hear in your mind and heart, God proclaiming in a loud, booming voice, “you are forgiven!”
1 John 1:9-10
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Devotion prepared by Dan Teefey