Many people come to churches, fellowship, and small groups in hopes of getting only encouragement and no down time, negativity, or humility. It’s as if we come to church, fellowship, and small groups on a pride stool and are reluctant to let ourselves be pushed off of it, although God really wants us to get off. (1 Peter 5:5-6: “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time“)
It’s much easier to walk down from our pride stool than be pushed off by others.
- Humility (Luke 18:14: “…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”)
Humility is the act of having an accurate view of one’s self. Of course, the official dictionary definition is having a low view of one’s self, but when you are comparing yourself to God (instead of other people-1 Corinthians 10:12) you get humbled and, therefore, have an accurate view of yourself.
You are nothing compared to God; this is the realization we must be reminded of often in order to get ourselves off of the pride stool and the part of us that tells us we are doing an excellent job at being a Christian, because none of us are, compared to the life Jesus lived (See recent post: It’s a dog eat dog world, be a sheep!). It is primarily, and I would argue only, through this breaking down process that He can increase while we decrease (John 3:30). For how can we decrease without first getting down from our pride stool?
Just look at the prayer Jesus would rather have from us in Luke 18:9-14.
2. Why Confession?
Confession allows us to reflect upon the sin we have in our lives and realize what we still have yet to deny ourselves in and choose God’s path instead.
Think of it this way, every time we confess and make ourselves lowly compared to God (and regain this accurate view of ourselves), we shed our old ‘wineskin’ and put on a new one. (Matthew 9:17)(Of course, I’m using a different use of the analogy than Jesus did-His was in regards to practices in the Old Testament to the New Testament)
If you went through every Sunday, quiet time, prayer, or fellowship opportunity holding onto your old wineskin (or old ways), then you would be putting new wine(God’s Word/plan/the Holy Spirit) into an old wineskin; the wineskin will break and everything new you learned in service or reading the Bible won’t stick with you-it’ll spill out.
Why? Because we selfishly hold onto the things that we don’t want to give up to God. We want to grow closer to God without having to compensate-but it’s unrealistic and nearly impossible. After all, Jesus said we must give up all to follow Him (Luke 9:23-24).
The more we confess, the better, because we will then make ourselves (and our fleshly desires) lower. For when we are weak, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 13:9)
We must shed our old ‘wineskin’ whenever we are spending time with God. Ultimately, we want Him to fill us up with His Word and Holy Spirit and not take Him in while we are holding on to our old ways.
3. Optimistics in danger
There is a danger to be aware of. When we are optimistic, we often assume we are good people and don’t need to shed our old ways. This is entirely wrong. We are not good people when we compare ourselves to God (see post: It’s a dog eat dog world, be a sheep!) Think about if you put even the slightest amount of poison in the new wine you got. It would taint the wine and the wineskin. This is why we must shed our wineskin often. Unless we haven’t sinned in the past week, or day, or hour, then we need to shed our wineskin to be filled with the spiritually new wine that God gives through fellowship, prayer, the Word, and other believers.