Many people are carrying around a stinky garbage sack of sin. (Pixabay)

"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long" (Ps. 32:3).

It's not just swallowing too much food that'll torpedo your health. Swallowing your sin can have even more disastrous results.

One of the healthiest choices you can make is to receive the forgiveness of God. Many people are carrying around a stinky garbage sack of sin. Carrying around that sack won't just make you ineffective for serving Jesus; it'll ruin your health, too.

The Bible teaches in Psalm 32:3-5:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was changed into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not conceal. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Ps. 32:3-5).

In fact, an October 2013 study by scientists at Princeton University and the University of Waterloo scientifically verified what King David said centuries earlier: The feelings we can have of being physically "weighed down" by guilt are real.

God has given us a foolproof method for relief from those soul and body-destroying feelings of guilt: repentance. How do you repent?

  1. Make a moral inventory. Psalm 139:23-24 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my concerns, and see if there is any rebellious way in me, and lead me in the ancient way." In other words, you start by grabbing a pencil and paper and asking God to bring to mind your sin. Take your time. Don't rush it. Be specific. Write them down, knowing you will be the only one to see this list. You can tear it up after you've finished this exercise.
  2. Accept the blame. The greatest holdup to healing is you. Don't rationalize your sin. Don't minimize it. You may not be 100 percent to blame, but accept the part that's yours.
  3. Ask for forgiveness. Believe that God will forgive you. Ask him to forgive you based on what he promises in the Bible (1 John 1:9). Don't beg. Don't bargain. Just believe that God will forgive you.

Don't put yourself at risk of spiritual heart disease. God wants to use you. Come clean about your sin. Get a fresh start.

Then see what God can do through you.

Talk It Over

  • Make a list of sins you've never confessed to God. Accept the blame for your failures, and ask the Lord for forgiveness for each sin on your list.
  • What keeps you from confessing your sins to God?
  • Are there some sins you struggle with confessing more than others? Why?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.

This article originally appeared at pastorrick.com.

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