In our user-friendly age, we want things to be efficient. If there’s a challenge, we want the easiest way around it. So, a worldly-minded cynic might come to this portion of our service and think that confessing your sins is about as effective in the fight against sin as wearing high-heels for a 100m race.
If the goal is to make our fight against sin easier, confessing your sins seems a bit futile. Ten minutes after you’ve risen from your knees, the cynic may inquire whether you’re facing temptation again. Sure enough, our experience seems to prove the cynic right. Not long from now, an upcoming appointment may spark the familiar squeeze of paralyzing fear; an internet ad may invite the whispers of lust-fueled desires; a glimpse of your rival may trigger an episode of bitter jealousy.
However, the goal of confession isn’t to get rid of our temptations or to make facing them easier. In fact, confessing your sin as sin means that the next temptation will be stronger, not weaker. The tempter will need to be more subtle, not more obvious.As a wise, older Christian once taught me, “The easiest way to get rid of temptation is to give in to it.” We don’t confess our sins out of a utilitarian wish that this will make things run smoother, but we do so to be obedient.
Confess your sin, knowing temptation will confront you before this service is even over. Confess it as the black and vile evil that it is. Confess it to be the very sins for which God sent His Son into the world to save you from. Confess it not to make the fight against sin easier, but because confessing your sin is how you fight against and conquer sin through Christ.