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God Uses People Who Confess Their Sins

"If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work." (2 Timothy 2:21 NLT)

God uses all kinds of vessels — big vessels and little vessels, ornate vessels and plain vessels, very expensive ones and very ordinary ones. But there is one thing God will not use: a dirty vessel. So if you’re going to be used by God, you have to do some cleanup.

Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, because tomorrow the LORD will perform miracles among you” (Joshua 3:5 TEV). The fact is, God wants to do something great in your future, too. But you have to start by settling the accounts of the past. You have to clean up yesterday.

How do you do that? You do it through confession. Augustine said, “The confession of bad works is the beginning of good works.” We start by dealing with our past. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing” (1 John 1:9 TEV).

I’ll never forget the first time I made a "sin list." I felt like God was a million miles away, that he was distant. I couldn’t feel his power or his grace. I felt like my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. So, one night, I took out a pad of yellow paper and said, “God, show me every sin between me and you, and I will write it down specifically. I committed it specifically. I'm going to confess it specifically. We’re going to deal with it right now and get it out of the way.” 

I started writing. And writing. And writing. I thought I was going to write a book, like "The Purpose Driven Sinner"! I ended up with about nine pages of sins. It was 2 a.m. when I finished. I confessed all those sins to God and wrote 1 John 1:9 over each.

I’ve had to make a sin list many times since that night, because it’s very easy to let things come between us and God.

You need to make a sin list on a regular basis so that you have a clean vessel to offer God for his use. If you only take the garbage out of your house once a month, it’s going to start stinking. 

Talk About It

How long has it been since you confessed specific sins to God?

As you make your sin list, what surprises you about what or how much you are recalling?


Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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