By the end of the book, two parents are trying to raise their six young children as well as they can. Neither parent was raised in a Christian family, but they believe there is a God, and that they should teach their children about Him. Slowly, through much study of the Bible, they come to understand what God has done throughout history. But there is something missing. The husband and wife are both still burdened with anger and unforgiveness as a result of their past. Finally, while talking with their children about Jesus, their little girl realized what they needed to do. "I want to tell God sorry," she sobbed. Her parents had not yet understood what it meant to pray--that they could just tell God anything--but their small daughter spoke simply to God, telling Him she was sorry for the bad things she had done, and asking Him to forgive her. When she finished, she looked up at them with a smile full of joy and peace, knowing she was forgiven.
Her parents wanted that. So, not long afterward, they each told God that they were sorry for what they had done wrong, asked Him to forgive them, and asked Him to help them live their lives in obedience to Him.
It was that simple. They, too, felt the peace and joy that their little daughter had.
Now, I know this is a fictional story. But Janette Oke is right. The apostle John wrote in his first epistle,
"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 our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9).It's that simple. When we confess our sinfulness, God forgives us and purifies us from the sin within us.
I've been a Christian all my life. I was baptized when I was less than a month old, and I've had saving faith in Jesus Christ ever since. I am thankful for this, but sometimes I make my faith more complicated than it needs to be. Sometimes I'm fooled into thinking I actually have to do something to earn God's forgiveness...that I have to live a perfect life in order to please Him.
Well, I would have to live a perfect life to please God...if Jesus hadn't already done it for me.
There's nothing more I have to do. Jesus has paid the price for my sins, taken them away on the cross, and provided the means necessary for my eternal forgiveness and salvation.
I don't have to try to impress God. All He wants me to do is "tell Him sorry."
Thanks be to God for His immeasurable grace!!
Yesterday, as I closed this book, I was in tears. I realized that I had been trying too hard. I don't need a big, complicated faith. Jesus encouraged His followers to have faith like a child--and that's what I need, too: a complete, unassuming faith that expects nothing of myself. God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He knows I can't be, and that I can't do anything good on my own. He is the One who gives me the willpower, strength and ability to please and serve Him.
So I asked Him for that. I asked Him if this blog is really what He wants me to do--if it's pleasing and glorifying to Him. I asked Him to help me be the best wife I can be to Joshua. I asked God to help me honor, glorify, serve and praise Him in everything I do.
Then, last night, a friend messaged me on Facebook. She said that my blog was a blessing to her, and even asked for help in coming up with an idea for a devotion.
A comment on yesterday's post suggested that I write devotions for women.
My husband reiterated once again that I am a great wife to him.
Now, it's not often that God answers my prayers quite this clearly. Sometimes I'm not sure what His answer is. Sometimes it's "No" or "I have something better for you." But yesterday, the answer clearly was "Yes." I am so very thankful to have been encouraged in this way.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
When we pray, "God, please forgive me," that is a prayer He always answers with "Yes."
God keeps His promises.
Whenever we confess, He will forgive and cleanse us.
And it really is as simple as that--as simple as a child's faith.