Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a
Step 2: We come to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
[I am using these Tuesday Re-mixes for a few weeks to think (again) about our addiction to self-reliance and how that addiction is one of the biggest challenges to genuine community which we face in the American church culture.]
For pretty much anyone following this blog, step 2 in our recovery from addiction to self-reliance seems like a no-brainer. I know that all of you believe in a power greater than yourself and that you would call that power God. You don’t need me to point that out to you here, nor to find some creative way of showing you that truth.
Instead, I want to challenge you to consider another higher power.
There is a higher power in our lives which co-exists with God, in fact, it exists by His hand and is ordained by Him and empowered by Him…even indwelled by Him. It is a higher power which He has determined to use as a Spiritual authority in our lives and, without it, we simply cannot overcome our addiction to self-reliance. It is a higher power which is absolutely critical to our growth, our ministry, and our very purpose in this world. That higher power is…Christian community. Without it, we are rudderless in the chaotic seas of this dark world.
The simplest and most convincing evidence of this truth is this: you cannot think of …
As Christians, we have been given only one mechanism to deal with sin in our lives: confession. There simply is no other means of prevailing over sin. Confession is our only hope.
Much of what I understand scripture to teach us about confession comes from my old friend, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. So today I will not bore you with my words; rather, I will challenge you with his. Take a minute to let his words (from Life Together) about confession of our sins to one another settle in your heart. Here was a man who understood some things about the transforming power of community.
Breaking Through to Community
In confession the break-through to community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community…
The expressed, acknowledged sin has lost all its power…It can no longer tear the fellowship asunder. Now the fellowship bears the sin of the brother. He is no longer alone with his evil for he has cast off his sin in confession and handed it over to God…Now he stands in the fellowship of sinners who live by the grace of God in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Breaking Through to the Cross
In confession occurs the break-through to the cross…Confession in the presence of a brother is the profoundest kind of humiliation. It hurts, it cuts a man down, it is