One crucial element that is often overlooked in our pursuit of vitality is confession. Perhaps we don’t deem it necessary. Perhaps we think it’s just something “negative” we have to talk about. Perhaps we think occasional confessions will suffice. Whatever the reason may be, we all need to realize that confession is absolutely necessary for us to become vital. Actually, if we see what confession really means to us, we shall treasure it to the uttermost (read to the end).
Confession in Greek is homologeo, which means “to say the same thing.” In our usage, to confess is simply to say the same thing as God. When God says we are wrong, we don’t argue or explain. We simply agree with Him and say, “Amen Lord, I am wrong.” This further implicates that in order to confess, we first need the Lord’s speaking. Without the Lord’s speaking or shining, we will not feel that we need to confess.
The questions posed by Brother Benson Phillips, as reproduced in the post “Vital Group Pulse Check” dated December 27, 2010, are not meant to condemn or discourage us. Rather, they should serve as a “conversation piece” between us and the Lord. The point is to cause us to go to the Lord. Once we touch the Lord, who is the embodiment of light, we cannot but be shined on. “Amen Lord, I am fruitless.” “Amen Lord, I am lukewarm.” “Amen Lord, I don’t love Your church as much as You do.” “Amen Lord, I love my TV/computer/smartphone/car/house/children more than You.”
According to Brother Witness Lee in Chapter 11 of Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, the more thorough our confession, the better. Brother Lee points out specifically that we need to confess the following: the sin of individualism and individuality; all our defects, shortcomings, wrongdoings, mistakes, transgressions, trespasses, outward sins, and inward evils; our sinful nature, its defilements, its attachment to the contamination of the world, and its oldness; our dispositional problems and our peculiarity in our character.
In the same chapter, he said:
We may confess that we are wrong in a certain matter, but the Lord would not let us go. He wants us to make a detailed confession of our transgressions and trespasses. In the Lord’s presence, we should itemize the things in which we have transgressed and trespassed. We have to get through with the Lord…We need to get through all these items by prayer. If we pray in this way, even once, we will sense that we are different.
If we are under the Lord’s enlightening, we will realize that our thinking, our intention, and our desire are all evil. Our good intentions are not pure. Our motive is not pure. Even our laughing is not pure, but with a hidden motive. We have to be enlightened and dealt with by the Lord to such an extent.
Eventually, we would realize and tell the Lord that we cannot enumerate all our inward evils. Under His light we would realize that we are just evil. When we look at people, we look at them with an evil purpose. When we go to see people, to visit people, our visit is not that pure but is a mixed thing. If we have not been dealt with to such an extent in our contact with the Lord, we can never be blended with others. We need to be dealt with to such an extent that we lose our confidence in ourselves.
While we may be tempted to brush over these points that prick us every time we read them (much like those questions posed by Brother Benson Phillips), we have to realize one thing: confession frees us. In a local conference recently held in Singapore, Brother James Lee compared confession to showering, which should be done daily. No one can deny the kind of freshness and rejuvenation after taking a good shower! And the more thorough the washing, the better! This is the same with confession; it unloads us and saves us from trying to do it on our own. “Yes Lord I am not vital. But You are! Hallelujah!”
Please use the space below to share your experience, feelings, and thoughts along this line of fellowship.