Grow Deep: Revealing Jesus Edition, Week 2
Week 2: December 10-16
My People, Don’t Hide!
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will purify us
from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:9
If you are like me, you probably played Hide and Seek as a child. In fact, I still play Hide and Seek with my young grandchildren. And sadly, I sometimes even play Hide and Seek with God. In my mind, I can rationalize that I don’t hide from God or try to hide my sin from Him. On one hand, I must admit that I play the “blame game” sometimes as Adam and Eve did. But on the other hand … don’t I confess my sin every week as part of my worship and when I kneel at the communion rail? Don’t I speak or write words of confession as a regular part of my daily prayer time? Aren’t my days punctuated with simple words of confession when I know I have messed up?
Yes, they are. But the truth is … God knows and sees what is still hidden in my heart! He knows my words do not always flow from a heart that is broken over my sin. He knows that my confessions are sometimes spoken as a child who only says he is sorry because he has to. He knows that sometimes I don’t “cry out” to Him in tearful anguish or feel crushed under the weight of regret because I have offended Him. And He knows that I often fail to turn away from the sinful behavior I have confessed.
He knows! Still, He shouts out the, “All-e, All-e, Now Come Free!” to me. He lovingly implores me to come to Him, to lay everything tucked away in my unclean heart before Him and to seek His mercy again and again! He cleanses my heart; in fact, He wipes the stain of my sin away … completely. He frees me. Only He can do that!
As you read and reflect this week, ask God to show you what is hidden in your heart. Ask Him to give you the courage to honestly, openly come before Him and confess it, knowing that He is there with His mercy and forgiveness!
Sunday, December 10
Read: Mark 1:1-8
A messenger comes, John the Baptist, to deliver the good news to the Israelites. He preached a message of faith that leads to confession, repentance, transformation, and salvation in the One who would come after Him.
Reflection: What was the message that John was preaching? Is there any difference between the “baptism of repentance” that John preached and our baptism today? If so, what is the difference?
For the Family: People came to John confessing their sins before being baptized. Why? When you have done something wrong, do you tell your parents what you did or do you try to hide what you did? How does hiding your wrongdoing make you feel? What would God want you to do?
Monday, December 11
Read: Luke 1:68-79
Zechariah's words are a song that recount God's faithfulness to fulfill His promises. He points us to God's promise to provide salvation for His people. The promise that God gave to Zechariah concerning John the Baptist is the same as the promise He gives to us today: He is faithful; He provides salvation through faith in the One who is coming.
Reflection: Zechariah prophesies that God has raised up a “horn of salvation” in verse 69 and says that He comes to “rescue us” in verse 74. Are these verses referring to the same thing or something different? What was John’s mission as prophesied by his father Zechariah? How was his mission similar or different from the one God has given to each of us?
For the Family: Zechariah shared words that spoke about the job God had for John the Baptist to do. What was that job? Do you think God has things He wants you to do? What are some of those things?
Tuesday, December 12
Read: Proverbs 28:13-14
God’s mercy is found in the confession of sins. Trying to hide or conceal our sins from God will have negative consequences.
Reflection: What does the writer of these verses tell us about concealing our sins? What does he tell us about confessing our sins? Ask God to show you any sin you have hidden from Him. Spend time in prayer confessing your sin to God and seeking His forgiveness.
For the Family: When you keep things you have done wrong from your parents, you cannot ask them for forgiveness. Why does God tell us to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness? What can happen when we don’t?
Wednesday, December 13
Read: Genesis 3:8-13
Adam and Eve fall into sin and try to hide from God, playing the blame game instead of coming before Him in honest confession and repentance.
Reflection: How do you see yourself in Adam and Eve? What feeling did Adam and Eve experience in the presence of God after they had eaten the forbidden fruit? Why? When have you felt those same feelings? Thank God that His Spirit convicts us of our sin; thank Him for His forgiveness.
For the Family: After being tricked by the serpent, Adam and Eve learned about sin and hid when they heard the Lord coming into the Garden. Has a friend ever talked you into doing something wrong? How did you feel after you did it? Was it hard for you to admit you were responsible for what you did instead of blaming your friend? Why?
Thursday, December 14
Read: Psalm 139:1-10
In this psalm, we become part of an intimate conversation that David is having with God. No matter where we go or what we may have done, God is with us and He knows us. There is no place we can hide; no place that is beyond His sight or His reach.
Reflection: Is it comforting or a little scary to realize that God knows your every thought, every word before it comes out of your mouth, everything about you? How does the knowledge of God’s presence with you impact your behavior when you are tempted to try to hide your sin? Why? How can you cultivate a stronger sense of God’s presence?
For the Family: Is there a special place where you go to be alone? Did you know that you are never really alone? Jesus is always with us; there is no place we can go where He is not already there. God wants to be with us because He loves us. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving that God knows you and loves you and is always with you.
Friday, December 15
Read: Jeremiah 23:23-24
God is fully present in all places and circumstances of our lives. We cannot hide from Him. Even when we want to "hide" our failures and sin, He is with us. When He seems far away, that may be a time for us to examine our hearts and come to Him in confession and repentance.
Reflection: What qualities of His character do you imagine God’s people had forgotten when God asked them the questions recorded in these verses? Why is it futile to try to hide from His presence? Think about God’s character. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for who He is, specifically naming at least one quality of His character.
For the Family: Do you ever play Hide and Seek with your friends or family? Have you ever found a special hiding place where no one could find you?Is there anywhere you can hide where Jesus won’t find you? Why is that a good thing to know?
Saturday, December 16
Read: I John 1:5-2:2
In this letter, John writes that God is Light, and in Him there can be no darkness at all. We are separated from Him and from His Light by the sin in our lives. But if our sins are not hidden or denied but confessed, they will be forgiven. The reason? Jesus has paid the price; He covered our guilt and took our punishment upon Himself.
Reflection: What does the Light represent? The darkness? What does it mean to walk in darkness? How can we walk in the Light? How does confession bring Light into our lives?
For the Family: What happens when you are in a dark room and someone turns on the light? Why is Jesus referred to as Light? He is also called an Advocate and the Atoning Sacrifice in these verses. What do those terms mean? Why is it important to know that Jesus is our Advocate and Atoning Sacrifice?