I am a man of unclean lips and life among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. (Isa. 6:5)

One day, very early in my professional life, my inbox binged with yet another email from him again—that unusually demanding and relentless client. Normally ultra-patient me had reached my wit’s end. So I wrote a colleague for advice, opening with, “Here we go again!” Only instead of hitting Forward, I hit Reply. To the client. I quickly hit unsend . . . seven times. Humbled, I shuffled to my boss’s office to confess, in case the email was read.

In Isaiah 6, the prophet fell to his knees before the Lord. God was holy. Isaiah was far from it. Before Isaiah would be ready for the next phase of ministry, he had to grasp his sinfulness. He was not called because of anything in himself. The work he would do could be accomplished only because of who God was, not because of who Isaiah was. Understanding that, and getting right before God, was essential.

As we prepare for the tasks God has for us, we must begin on our knees in humble confession of our sin. Our emptiness allows Him to fill us. Our humility prevents pride or self-sufficiency from hindering us. Our honesty allows God to cleanse and forgive so He can use us to our fullest potential. It’s powerful. It’s transforming. It’s freeing. And like learning from an ill-advised email, it’s how we grow into the leaders God desires.

Silently confess your sins; write each on a slip of paper as you repent.

Diane Gardner lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is a writer and freelance editor; leads Bible studies; and enjoys reading, traveling, street fairs, and live theater.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.