We need change, we can't stay how we are and expect God to just pour out blessings upon us. Why is that? Because you're not ready to receive most of what God has for you. You wouldn't let a kid play with a hand grenade right? Well, God is no different. A lack of character development stunts spiritual outpouring. God loves you and knows what's best for you, you'd be surprised at how much destruction isn't from the enemy, but rather God's hand of love taking away what we can't handle. So how do we change? By asking...
Seems obvious right? We just ask God to change us and then we change... right? Soberly look at your character flaws and areas of sin you struggle in. I'm sure you've been taking it to prayer and asking God to change you, so why can we still see flaws? One word, confession (or lack thereof).
What does confession mean?
Do you know what confession means? Webster's dictionary describes it as "a written or oral acknowledgment of guilt by a party accused of an offense" I have no doubt that is what most of us are doing in prayer, telling Jesus what we did, acknowledging we're wrong, and asking for forgiveness. And you better believe your sin is atoned for when we do this (1 John 1:9), but God wants more than this if you're going to receive change. You need to dig deeper.
Confession is deeper than words
When you fall to sin, there is a reason you fell. It's deeper than, "Oh I was just being carnal" and most of us don't dive deep enough with the Lord to find out. We lie, we lie to others, we lie to God (you'll see how in a sec.), and usually before lying to everyone else, we lie to ourselves. Confession can't happen without honesty, and if you're not being honest with yourself about your problems, then you'll always stay blind to the root issue.
Stop looking so deeply at the WHAT and focus on the WHY. Why do you always fall to a certain sin? What events happened before you fell, and when was the first time you can remember this issue happening? Take some serious time and ask the Lord to show you, He is the greatest therapist there is! But finding the source is only part of the puzzle, the next step is... confession!
How to confess your sin to God
Admit to the Lord more than just what you did, admit why you did it. Maybe you don't have some deep-rooted cause and the simple fact is that you enjoyed it knowing it was wrong. This is a true confession! God wants you to hear yourself confess how wicked you are, why? Because it forces you to look at the fruit of your works, and it elevates the payment Jesus made for you on the cross! That should humble you before God and put everything into perspective, you're a sinner who needs Jesus just like the rest of the world!
Get honest and ugly before the Lord, did you fall to sexual sin? Confess the truth, most of us struggle because we really just enjoy the sin. We make ourselves liars when we fall to sin then jump "back" into being a "good Christian", asking for forgiveness, doing our religious dance, and lying to ourselves thinking we'll get "back" into God's approval after a few days... The only reason this scenario plays out is that you're being religious, you thought you were good to begin with! Wrong! You've never been "good" and that should be relieving! You never fell out of God's grace because you didn't earn it to begin with! Romans 3:24,27 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus", "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith."
No part of this is light-hearted, it's not ok to be struggling, but we have a Savior! Confess the truth, as ugly as it might sound, God isn't going to get grossed out, he watched you do it! When you are (what I call) "in the mud honest", you put yourself in a position to be truly touched by God's hand. You come as you are before the Lord, not under a false pretense, or delusional self-righteous attitude. This is the "truth and spirit" God is looking for in your relationship with him.
You need faith that God is willing and able to take that evil desire out of your character (or unclean spirit out of your temple) as you confess, and this is where the change happens! I really want everyone to grasp this so here are a few examples of the type of confession I'm talking about:
Do you often fall to fear? Confess to the Lord that you don't have enough faith to believe because you're scared He won't provide, ask for forgiveness of this fear, then ask Him to give you more faith.
Do you find yourself falling in fornication? Confess to the Lord that you're wrong for enjoying this sin and ask Him to take that desire out of you.
Do you fall to the spirit of religion? Confess to the Lord that you've been prideful and full of yourself for thinking your sacrifice is better than Christ's. Then as for forgiveness for not trusting in the grace and freedom of Christ and ask God to increase your faith in Christ's complete work on the cross.
I hope the examples above give you a clear understanding of the type of conversations that bring change. Everyone's going to be different, and it's not meant to be a "special prayer" that will 100% work guarantee, the goal is to shine a light of honesty and reveal potential blind spots we can take into our prayer closets. This is what brings growth to our relationship with Jesus Christ. I'd like to end this post with a personal testimony.
How Jesus delivered me from lust! (Adult topic)
I struggled with consuming pornography for over 10 years throughout my life, and I thought I'd lose the desire after I got married... and well, I didn't. Even after God first spoke to me and changed my life overnight, I still struggled with it! I would go much longer between intervals of falling to the sin, but the problem was still there.
It wasn't until I was in my car causally confessing my sin to the Lord on the way to work, that the Holy Spirit responded with, "you're playing with your salvation when you do that" and the fire of serious conviction overtook my whole body. What was my response? I would resist it harder, just rebuke the Devil more... and none of it worked! It wasn't until the desire to watch pornography started knocking on my door and I felt helpless to fight it. I cried out to the Lord, "I'm sorry God, I hate this desire and I want it to stop!" I knew I was powerless to fight it from my own efforts but I was done falling to sin. And as I confessed to Jesus my sin, I was filled with a serious and visceral hate that stirred up in my soul and with all my heart I for the first time truely hated the desire to watch porn.
The Holy Spirit responded to my prayer and told me to take communion, so I ran to the cabinet as quickly as I could, confessed that I had this wicked enjoyment but knew it was wrong. And right before I took communion, I bawled my eyes out and said, "I just want you Jesus, not this evil." IMMEDIATELY, after I finished taking communion the desire disappeared and ever since then it's never came back!
(Very quickly, I want to make it clear. I didn't hate myself for falling, I focused my hate on the sin itself. You should never hate yourself for the sin you fall to, instead hate the action and desire to sin, it's much more productive and healthy!!) I got delivered, and the Lord helped open my eyes to several lies I was telling myself. The first lie was thinking that the sin is "ok" and that "I'll get through it". The second lie I told myself was thinking that I had the strength on my own to overcome it. Jesus is the only one who can give you the strength to overcome and it's only when we call on him in spirit and truth that we experience REAL lasting change.
I pray this has been a blessing, and hope it brings just as much change to your life!