Recently we celebrated communion in our church. But before we did, our pastor preached a pretty powerful sermon on communion. (I wish it were online for you to see and listen, but it was not posted.) He explained the importance of communion in different denominations and how we should view communion according to Scripture.
One thing that came to my mind during his sermon was: CONFESSION.
I pulled out my iPad and started typing my prayer of confession. As I’ve been going through the days since that Sunday I keep thinking about CONFESSION. I remembered how my father taught us children to pray when we were little. He always used to point out that our evening prayer should include a confession about things that had gone wrong, things we had neglected, things we needed forgiveness for. One phrase I remembered in particular was: “committed sins seen and unseen.”
Now why would we need to confess sins seen and unseen? I started thinking about the unseen part of my life. About stuff that nobody else sees or knows about. The secret part of my life. And not just things I’ve done or am currently doing that nobody sees, but how about my motives behind things that are seen. How about the thoughts I think and nobody else knows about?
As a follower of Jesus I know that nothing is really secret or hidden before God. He knows it all. He sees it all, whether it’s my thoughts, my motives or the things I do.
I love Psalm 139, written by King David. He says in his confession to God:
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
These last two verses are the prayer of my heart during this season of Lent. I don’t just want give something up during this season. No, I want to gain something far more important: I want God to search my heart and weed out anything that offends Him. That won’t always be easy. There might be some hardship and pain involved in it. But as I allow God to work on my heart, on the unseen part of me, it is my prayer that I would reflect God’s glory in my life not just by the things that are seen about me, but also with all the unseen.
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (emphasis mine)