Feb 27, 2022
Sara Zika

Confession & Joy — Lent 2022

Confession can look like many things. Most often,  it can be viewed as the naming of what  many would call a blatant sin issue that is gnawing at you. Initially, you  avoid, hoping it will, “work itself out” until it doesn’t and you are brought to your knees by the Holy Spirit in an uncomfortable situation where you start to cry in public from conviction. 

Yeah, that has never happened to me either… okay, okay, it has. I think this is what a lot of people think of when the word confession comes to mind. However, the Lord has been working through me  recently in another kind of way; confessing that I am a creature. No, not like a hobbit or a house-elf, but rather a person that was created. I am not the creator. I have a creator, God, and because of that, this makes me a creature.

The thing about creatures is, since they have  a creator, they are not the thing that knows best for themselves. It sounds so simple. I grew up in the church, and read Genesis a lot (we had felt boards with the seven days of creation). I thought that I knew that God was the creator of everything and everyone, including me. Most of this has been tested when circumstances have shifted in my life the last few years: loss of a job, loss of loved ones, church changes, and health problems. The thing I thought I  learned when I was in Sunday school at age four, has suddenly become the thing I confess to the Lord over and over. I would submit it  as the heart of all confession, I am desperately dependent on God, my creator.  1 John 4:15 says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”(ESV). It is through  confession of our need for a savior we experience Jesus. It has been my experience these last few years as he has reminded me of his overflowing love for me through confession, which brings me to him.

It is in salvation and communion with the Lord that true joy is found. These past few years have been difficult for so many for  a multitude of  reasons. I have been reading the book of Habakkuk and sitting in the frustration that he must have felt not understanding his surroundings.  It is after dialogue with God that Habakkuk confesses to God that he knows who God is to be and says despite his surroundings, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”(ESV). This has been my same encouragement; taking joy in the God of my salvation.

My prayer for our church this week is Psalm 51:12, “Restore to [us] the joy of your salvation, and uphold [us] with a willing spirit.” (ESV).

Individual Practice

Interactive Prayer Journaling 

Take time this week to sit alone with God and in a journal, confess your need for him (for forgiveness, healing, help, restoration, or whatever keeps you from being fully connected to God and to other people).  Bring the real stuff to God.  He already knows it, sympathizes with it, and has done all the work needed to forgive it.  (Hebrews 4:15-16).  Now, imagine standing before Jesus and receiving forgiveness and acceptance from Him.  Write down whatever you imagine Jesus might say to you if He were physically present.  These words aren’t God’s words - but instead, they are your understanding of God’s character and love for you.  Ask God to help you bring to mind any scripture that He might say to you at this moment (maybe he would lead you to Isaiah 40:29-31, or Hebrews 4:16, or John 8:36 to start).  Now write down your response to Jesus.  How do you want to thank him for forgiveness?  What does it mean to you?  

Feel free to let this practice go back and forth as long as you would like, always checking your understanding of Jesus’ response to you with His revealed character, found in His word.  Let your time end by receiving the feeling of joy that comes in knowing that you have a savior that delights in being with you! 

Family Practice

As we begin observing Lent as a Church community, we also want to make sure that individual families are taking time to seek the Lord and ask for renewal as well! Here are a few things you can be doing as a family this week!

As a family, recite the Cottage Grove Kids Lent memory verse! Take a moment to explain to your children what it is that we are asking God to do in our hearts this Lent season and what it means for God to be the one who renews us.

Psalm 51:10-12 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, 
And uphold me with a willing spirit.”

This week, one of the practices we are focusing on is confession! We desire to be people who confess things that are true! Things that are true about God; things that are true about us, and things that are true about the world. One thing that we should be constantly confessing is our neediness! We are people who need many things; some things we can provide for ourselves, some things others can provide for us, and some things only God can provide!

  1. Have each member in your family write (or draw) on a piece of paper a few things that they need. See if everyone can come up with a few things that they can provide for themselves, some things that their parents or others can provide for them, and some things that only God can provide!
  2. If you have really young children who may not be able to write or draw yet, you can think of things in each category and can ask them who is able to provide each thing for them!
  3. Teach your kids that it is okay to be needy and to confess our need for help! God is gracious and kind and has provided for us people to meet many of our needs, but also celebrate how amazing it is that God Himself meets so many of our needs in different ways! 

Finish your time reciting the memory verse as a family one more time and then praying that God would renew us and thanking Him for being a God who meets our needs!