April 3, 2024

In 2024, we will strive to become more like Jesus by rediscovering the ancient practices of prayer, study, sabbath, celebration, and many more. Our knowledge of scripture, coupled with studying how Jesus lived his life while on earth, will help us become people that overflow with the goodness of God. Wednesday email devotionals will highlight the practices that have been discussed on the previous Sunday.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.


If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.


1 John 1:5-15


This month, we shift our focus to secrecy and confession. If there is one month’s practice that makes people’s eyebrows lift, it is this one. Prayer and sabbath are relatively well-known spiritual disciplines, but secrecy and confession take a bit more contemplation to understand.


Much like prayer, confession is about talking to God. What does it mean to talk to God after we have hurt someone we love, have dishonored ourselves, or dishonored God himself?


When we think of confession, we often experience just the idea of confession as a negative—something to be avoided at all costs. Our humanness, especially in our competitive world, does not value vulnerability and honesty. Instead, we work desperately hard to hide our failures and mask confessions by providing excuses to hide our perceived shortcomings.


However, not all failure is bad. Simon Sinek, speaker and author of Leaders Eat Last, contends that progress is impossible without failure. Sinek focuses on workplace behaviors and how we interact, noting that genuine growth comes from learning about the good and the bad of something going wrong.


What does that mean for us as we practice the spiritual discipline of confession this month? As Christians, the best gift we have ever been given is assurance that through Jesus Christ, our salvation is not dependent on our successes or failures. Instead, our failures offer us an opportunity for growth in the Lord.


In the scripture above, John offers that God will forgive our failures if we talk to him, allowing vulnerability to enter our confessions. Scripture also promises something else. Psalm 32, the confession Psalm, begins with the word “Blessed.” Through God’s unending grace, your failures, if confessed to God and your community, can move you from who you are now into a more grace-filled, fruitful, loving, and kind person. In the words of Tim Mackie, a contemporary Bible scholar on the West Coast: “What if confession and the experience of failure makes you stronger than you were before…and gives you more joy and confidence in who God says he is?”


What would this month look like if we lived out a faith that believes God will do what he says? What if we talk to God knowing we are blessed by confessing our failures, and he uses that vulnerability to sanctify our life with him?


Perhaps our growth is truly dependent on our failures and God’s blessings.

For Reflection

Are you afraid of failing or being perceived as failing? How can you ask God to use these fears for good this month?


Do you trust that God can use your shortcomings to form you into the disciple you were created to be?


God, thank you for being a God that uses our failures for our own good. Lord, help us to grow in your ways this month. Help us practice confession within ourselves and with you, God. Give us the confidence to trust in the promise that those who confess are blessed in your name as we do our best to walk with you.


Lord, give us your wisdom and grace as we embark on another month of pursuing you.



Morgan Kennedy
Teaching & Learning Director