No one wants to look bad. The perfect example of this is social media. No one is ever like I want to post that picture that is the most authentic version of me. We want the absolute best version of us on the internet, with all the cropping and filters and perfect lighting we can find. I definitely understand why. The internet is forever. This does go into our real lives though, too.
We all have video cameras on the front of our phones. I am very thankful that I grew up in an era where if you said something dumb only the people within earshot knew. People in general are more afraid of trying new things publicly because they are afraid of it ending up on snapchat or insta or as a meme. I think most of us realize that many of the stories or memes we see don’t reflect that whole person’s life.
We all make mistakes. I feel like our flow chart for mistake making is in the wrong order though. The first thought for me is either towards the person or towards God and then we normally don’t want anyone else to find out. Once again no one enjoys looking bad, not even me.
In Acts 19.11-20 Paul is in Ephesus and an incident occurs where the sons of a Jewish priest try to perform an exorcism. Exorcists were common during this time period. Exorcists would claim a name of high power, during their exorcisms, thinking the higher power the name, the higher the percentage chance of an exorcism . The sons of Sceva made an error this time. They claimed the name of Jesus as the source of their power and they weren’t following Jesus. They said it works for Paul and it should work for us. That really isn’t how the name of Jesus works though. The man with the spirits attacks the sons of Sceva and beats them and sends all seven running away naked. That was a bad day for those brothers.
Word of this incident spreads around the region and in v. 18 “Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.” People realized how wrong the magic arts were after hearing about the sons of Sceva. These were people who were already believers and still had these books and maybe were still practicing magic arts.
I admire the people of Ephesus for this one. When they figured out something was wrong, they confessed and divulged their practices. When there is a sin that has more power in our life, we don’t come and confess it. We want to have victory over it or be healed of it before we confess it. We want to have a problem, fix it ourselves and then tell everyone about it. This is to our detriment. In darkness sin can grow. If you confess it to someone, your problem will not magically go away but, it’s the start in the right direction.
Most alcoholics don’t think they have a drinking problem. The first of the twelve steps in recovery is admitting that you cannot manage your own life. (I actually wonder if many Christians get past this first step.)
Admitting you have made a mistake is half the work. You can find a trustworthy individual to talk about what you are struggling with and in doing so you can take a little more ground on the thing that you are working on.
Everyone likes confession until they have something to confess. It is worth the time and the embarrassment. The church in Ephesus after they burned their magic books kept growing. It says in v. 20 that “the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightly.” I want that for my church and for myself. Bite the bullet and let’s take some medicine and see God work.
Thank you for sticking around. I have enjoyed writing for you guys this week.
-Daniel (Dan, Danny) Wall
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How does this relate to your everyday life? What is your experience with confession – or not confessing?
- What is the problem with believing but not confessing?
- What is the power of confessing? Prayerfully consider if there is something you need to confess.