If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
–1 John 1:9
Romans 2:4 says, “The kindness of God leads you to repentance.” When we remember how gracious God has been to us, it should lead us to repent. It should lead us to a reexamination of our lives. That is the third component of Ezra’s prayer in Nehemiah 9. In verses 33-34, he prayed, “You are just in all that has come upon us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly. For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.” You will never be back into a right relationship with God until you are willing to confess your sin before God. What does it mean to confess your sin? It means to quit arguing with God about your sin. Imagine that you are sitting down with Jesus Christ for a cup of coffee. Jesus looks into your eyes, and He says, “I hope you know how much I love you, and I am so proud of you. But there is one thing in your life that is causing a problem in our relationship. I want us to talk about that.” If Jesus were to say that to you, do you have a pretty good idea of what He would want to talk to you about? That is what it means to confess our sin. It means to quit arguing with God, quit rationalizing, and say, “God, You are right, and I am wrong.” A reexamination of our lives is an important component of coming back to God.
That leads to the fourth part of this prayer–a dedication to God’s commands. Look at how Ezra closed this prayer in Nehemiah 9:38: “Now because of all of this we are making an agreement in writing; and on the sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites and our priests.” Ezra did not close his prayer by saying, “Lord, help us to do better, in Jesus’s name. Amen.” He said, “God, we are so serious about restoring our relationship with You, we are going to make a contract with You. And if we fail to live up to our end of the agreement, You can judge us however You choose.” It takes that kind of dogged determination to restore a relationship with God. Are you willing to say, “God, I want Your approval in my life so much that I am willing to do whatever it takes to please You”? That is when revival begins in your life. One writer said it this way: “Revival is not simply an emotional upheaval. It leads to action. It causes the flower of love to blossom in the heart. It makes the river of God flow when it’s been dry. It makes the desert burst into bloom.” Have things been dry in your spiritual life lately? Are you ready for the river of God’s power to start flowing again in your life? It begins with a remembrance of who God is. He is not an idea; He is an eternal being. He is our Creator. It means expressing your gratitude to God for giving you what you do not deserve. It means seriously reexamining your life, saying, “God, show me what is displeasing to You.” And ultimately, it means doing whatever is necessary to live a life that is pleasing to Him. That kind of sincere, heartfelt prayer will drive you back into the presence of God more quickly than you can possibly imagine.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Prayer For Drifters” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org