Summary: Message 2 in a series on the spiritual habits the lead to a higher walk with God. This message focuses on the third habit of regular confession of sin.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Cleaning the closets / clearing the conscience”
There is no vibrant physical heath without proper diet and exercise. There can be no healthy relationships without practicing the things that build relationships. The things we will explore of the next several weeks are the irreducible minimum elements prescribed by the Lord to acquire, maintain and develop spiritual health. These are things that must become a way of life. Our spiritual health is directly related to the degree we practice these things regularly. 1 Timothy 4:6-10
Discipline and discipleship go hand in hand. We have to stop looking for the short cuts.
There is NO instant spirituality. There is not prayer, no book, no sermon, no spiritual experience, no crash program that will produce spiritual maturity. It takes time, energy, commitment, perseverance, focus. The writer of Hebrews warned about becoming spiritually lazy and dull of hearing. Jesus warned the Ephesian church to return to the deeds they did at first. The Christian life is a marathon not a sprint. Hebrews urges us to run with endurance the race set before us. The first thing we must get settled is time devoted to exercise and time with God. You can no more expect to rise to higher relational levels with God without time and energy than you would expect to improve your marriage relationship without expending time and energy. No instant relational builder. (Events, and break throughs but a life time of growing)
SILENCE AND SOLITUDE
Therefore, the first element is solitude and silence. Only as we become still before God does the muddy waters of our life get clear enough to see clearly.
Moses spent six days alone on the mountain BEFORE God even said one word. Isolating ourselves in solitude and silence from time to time has the as same affect as fasting from caffeine, sugar, chocolate, and carbohydrates and any number of habit forming substances. It quickly reveals how addicted we have become to activity, people, noise, sights and sounds, that we have allowed to over stimulate our physical senses. We discover the shallowness of our relationship with God. When we are left alone with God, we find that our sense of meaning in life really does not come from Christ alone. Rather we have come to depend on activity, other people, noise, stimulation of the senses. These times away enable us to develop our spiritual senses as we seek God and recalibrate. Any attempt to draw close to God must begin with an understanding of who is the boss. We need to regularly evaluate our level of submission.
Healthy relationships cannot exist where there is a power struggle. Even though there are roles in marriage, God instructs husband and wife submit to one another. It cannot be about power but service.
The third element of our twelve habits toward a higher walk with God has to do with another major relationship blocker. Whenever we violate any of the rules of relationship and cause offense to another we create a block to any further development of the relationship. The damage of sin operates from both directions.
God is grieved and offended. We feel guilt and distance. How do you feel when you are in a hurry and are exceeding the speed limit? What is going on inside as you rush along?
You owe someone money and have not yet paid it back. How do you feel around that person? You know that you lost control and launched some hurtful words toward another person. How do you feel around them? How do they feel around you? God programmed a sense of right and wrong in every one of His creatures called conscience. There is a universal sense of good and evil. Over the years man has distorted that intuitive compass.
Man learned to suppress the truth and sear the nudge of their conscience.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1Ti 1:5 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. Act 24:16 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 1Ti 1:19
Any time we disobey God, we suffer the consequences. When we fail to address those offenses, we will encounter any number of repercussions. Listen to King David.
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. Psalms 32:3-4