I get tired watching a marathon on TV. Do you know that there are some people who run Marathons all the time? There is an even more difficult race called a Triathlon that involves swimming, biking, and running. To make it even more grueling, they have a World Triathlon Series! Jonny Brownlee of Great Britain was leading the field with less than half a mile to go. A victory would not only give him glory for this race, it would clinch the overall title. Then, dehydration set in and he began faltering. His brother Alistair was locked in a battle for second place. When he saw Jonny faltering, he grabbed him and helped him finish the race, forcing Jonny to finish second just ahead of Alistair. It was one of the great feel good stories in sports this year.
A friend recently sent me a cartoon that had a pictogram of the sun plus a human minus water giving a shriveled person. Dehydration is a real problem. It’s not only caused by lack of water, and appropriate electrolytes, it can be caused by internal issues such as sickness. Did you realize that it’s possible to suffer from spiritual dehydration? We become spiritually dehydrated when we lose our connection with God. Our spiritual strength is sapped. We fall prey to temptation. We lose our connection when we aren’t reading His word, when we aren’t praying, or when we allow sin to come into our lives. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3-4)
David compared living with sin to the sapping of his strength in the summer when the heat drains bodies of life giving water and nutrients. The cure for spiritual dehydration caused by sin is confession. As David continues writing he notes that when sin is confessed, God forgives. It is in that forgiveness that spiritual refreshment is found. David can rejoice knowing that God protects him even during raging floods. What an interesting change of metaphor! The overall point is that when we have unconfessed sin, it destroys that relationship between us and God. We are evasive with Him, hoping that if we hide things well enough, He won’t see our sin. But just like our mothers always knew when we messed up in school, because they got THE phone call, and they waited to hear us tell about the situation first, God knows our sin. He is waiting for us to confess it. We must confess not to gain forgiveness, we have that already, we must confess to remind God that even when we do things our way, we still realize that His way is best.
Oh, it’s possible to object to this idea that we must confess our sins to restore our relationship with God. He’s already forgiven our sins, why bring it up? We live in an age of grace, not law, and so our sins were covered at the cross. All this is understandable. But when we sin, when we live as though we can do things our way instead of God’s way, we set up a barrier between ourselves and God. God seeks to break down that barrier, but by refusing to let His grace deal with that individual sin, we keep rebuilding that barrier. That wall is only torn down when we are willing to confess our sin and accept God’s forgiveness. Many people accept the grace of God that brings forgiveness for our sins and act as though sin is no longer important. It saps our spiritual energy. It causes us to drift away from God. If it seems like there is something wrong in your relationship with God, examine your heart and look for that sin that’s blocking communication with Him. Confess it, receive His forgiveness, and enjoy the fresh, renewed relationship with Him.
Lord, how easy it is to fall back into my old ways of thinking and doing things. How easy it is to let sin creep into my life. Help me to recognize my sin, to confess it, and to experience Your grace again.