We all have confessed our sin after the fact—after we have consciously acted out in sinful actions or words. We realized that our behavior was sinful, so we confessed to Christ and next confessed to our brothers or sisters. Then, having come to Him in genuine repentance and sorrow, we reaped the wonderful benefits that Jesus always provides, that is, His cleansing, freeing forgiveness.
Not much has been written or said, though, about confession that precedes the occasion to act out or speak out in sin. Yes, precedes! “Preventative confession,” I call it, is confession that precedes the would-be sinful action or word. Thus, when there is “preventative confession” of the sinful thought or motive sinful word or action does not follow. That is the point of what I refer to as “preventative confession.” We can prevent sin actions by mean of confessing our temptation.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
What exactly do I confess, then if my sinful thought has not led to sinful actions?
First, we must ask the Lord to shine His pure Light on our sinful thoughts. We must admit, and confess our sinful thoughts and the temptation to act out in sin. We must confess to God and to each other that we are weak. We must confess that we are being seduced by the flesh, the world or the devil. We must confess all the states of being—the self-centered, old-nature thoughts, intents and motives that may precede a fall into sin in deed or word.
“Preventative confession,” empowered by the Holy Spirit, put us on the path to purity and wholeness. It is through the confession of our weakness that we truly are strengthened. Corinthians 12:10
It will minimize, if not present, the occasion to sin in word and action. By confession of our sinful thoughts to brothers and sisters in Christ who will hold us accountable in love, we open the door to receive growth in holiness and Christ-likeness.
“Preventative confession” implies that we are assuming responsibility for our future actions now, and thus for the sinful thoughts and motives that underlie such actions.
When we acknowledge our vulnerable state of being then
take responsibility for our self into the future.
As nothing else can, “preventative confession,” empowered by the Holy Spirit, cleanses our conscience. It takes power out of the temptation. The Enemy seeks to ensnare us with guilt and shame, two of his most powerful weapons. When we feel guilty or shameful we hide and refuse to acknowledge the old self that still fights against our new nature. That old nature needs exposure to have its power removed so that we can receive the transformation that Christ has made possible and experience His presence. Through confession of these thoughts we disarm the Accuser. The tomb of isolation and shame that he tried to enclose us in is broken. Through confession of our weakness we can receive the compassion of Christ that liberates us to pursue holiness boldly. (Romans 8:1 & Hebrews 4:16).
Still another beneficial result of “preventative confession” is restored fellowship and intimacy with Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Enemy screams: “Don’t let anyone know that you are thinking such thoughts. If people know, that will not accept you or like you.” And so we hide from our brothers and sisters, those wonderful gifts and agents of Jesus. We live out our lonely lives in secrecy and isolation, the deadliest of all places for the Christian seeking to overcome his or her brokenness.
Confession of one’s sinful thoughts and emotions provides the avenue through which Christ and others in the Body of Christ can demonstrate their acceptance of us, weaknesses and all. Our yielding to others motivates more yielding, which in turn has the divine power to transform us.
In your pursuit of holiness, I encourage you to practice “preventative confession.” Draw near to God so that He may expose the sinful thoughts and motives that lead to sin in deed and word. Work on developing relationships with others in the family of God who will hold you accountable and assist you in experiencing His Presence in weakness.
Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.