If the Holy Spirit was sent to give me power to live a victorious life, why do I feel so powerless, so defeated?
We often yearn for spiritual power and do not have it because of impure motives, selfish desires, or unconfessed sin. God does not fill a dirty vessel with His power and love. The vessel of our lives must be cleansed by the blood of our Lord before it can be filled with the Spirit of God.
The Psalmist wrote, "Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
I believe that this prayer is an essential disciple of the Christian's inner life. It expresses to God our desire for purity, our longing to make His ways our ways. Asking Him to reveal to us any unconfessed sin enables us to keep our accounts short with Him. Confession results in cleansing. God's Word promises, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all righteousness. (I John 1:9)
The Holy Spirit longs to fill us with His power and love. In this lesson, you will learn how your life can have this power. The first step is to be cleansed from sin and filled with the Spirit of God.
Living "Out of Fellowship" with God
- What characterizes a person who is not in fellowship with God? (James 1:8) Think back on your life. How has this verse characterized your life, and in what ways has this changed since you came to know Jesus Christ?
- Read Isaiah 59:2. What is the result of sin in one's life?
- Do you think sin in your life has affected your relationship with God? How?
How to be Cleansed
The word "confess" means "to say the same thing as another - to agree with God." Confession involves three things:
- Agreeing that you have sinned (be specific)
- Agreeing that Christ's death on the cross paid the penalty for that sin
- Repentance -- changing your attitude toward that sin, which will result in a change of action toward that sin
When God brings to your attention the fact that something you have done is sin, you are to confess - say the same thing God says about that specific sin. Do not just say, "I have sinned," but state what the sin was and agree with God, looking at it from His viewpoint. Then determine to put it out of your life and not do to it again.
- What is the condition for cleansing and forgiveness? (I John 1:9)
- What two things did the Psalmist do about his sin in Psalm 32:5? Also, what is the result of not admitting sin, or admitting it?
- In what situations has each of these results been true in your life?
Living "In Fellowship" with God
- When we confess our sins, God restores us to fellowship. Walking in fellowship with the Father and the Son is referred to as "walking in the light." Read I John 1:7 and list two results promised. Then give an example how you have experienced each in your life.
- When we are in fellowship with God, specific things are happening within us. According to Philippians 2:13 and 4:13, what are they? Describe how these verses can help you overcome specific temptation or weaknesses you face.
- What is this power within us that what is its result? (Romans 8:9 and Galatians 5:22-23) List several ways the qualities found in the Galatians passage are at work in your life.
- What should be our attitude when tempted? (Romans 6:4-11) Why? (Colossians 3:3) Identify ways you can obey the instructions given in the Romans passage.
- In your own words, write down what you will do when you find anything that breaks your fellowship with the Lord.
- Summarize the reasons it is so important to confess sin as soon as you are aware of it.
- Use these steps to confess your sin:
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the sins in your life.
- List the sins on a piece of paper.
- Confess the sins.
- Write I John 1:9 across the sins.
- Thank God for His complete forgiveness.
- Destroy the paper to signify what happened to your sins.
Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.