The Jungle Cruise: Are You in Denial?
On the “World Famous” Jungle Cruise, your skipper takes you on four—or possibly five, depending on who you ask—of the world’s major rivers:
- the Irrawaddy & Mekong in Asia’
- the Nile & the Congo in Africa;
- and the Amazon in South America.
On some cruises, you may get a mention of the Irrawaddy, but most of the time only one river is called by its name: The Nile. “We’ve now turned down the Nile River the longest river in Anaheim. No, really, it’s the longest river in the world, winding across more than 4000 miles. And if you don’t believe me, you must be in de-Nile.” That pun almost always gets a laugh—or at least a groan.
Whether on the river adventure or the adventure of life, there comes a point of “denial.” On the Jungle Cruise, we pass through it and our reward is a spectacular view of “the back side of water.” In life, you have a choice.
If you choose denial, your adventure becomes treacherous, dark, and unfulfilling. It seems like the easy way, but it’s quite the opposite. If you choose to avoid denial, your adventure can continue in the way it was meant to. Do you want God’s presence, provision, and promises? They don’t lay down the path of denial.
Denial of what, though? Sin. Not the sin of everyone around you, your own. If you want to experience God’s presence, provision, and promises, you have to have God’s priorities, and that starts with an honest self-evaluation of what is separating you from Him and what He wants for your life.
It’s popular today to talk about how good people are, how good we ourselves are, and how we need to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. Saying something bad about ourselves is negative self-talk and should be avoided at all costs. The problem is, that’s not what the Bible says.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.”
We need to regularly engage in some “negative self-talk”: getting real with God about our sin. How we’ve fallen short of His standard for our lives and His holiness. Not legalistically, but authentically, transparently, honestly. Claiming we don’t need to or avoiding it is living in denial.
As Christians, we still sin. We are not “slaves to sin”, but we still do it. And so, when God seems distant, we feel like our prayers aren’t being heard (much less answered), or life is overwhelming, it’s wise to confess our sins and repent. I’m not saying that’s always the issue, but it would be foolish to discount the need for it.
The purpose of this confession isn’t to feel guilty or put ourselves down. It’s not manufacturing or excessively dwelling on negativity. It’s just accepting that we’re not perfect, that we are inclined to seek our own self-interest and be petty, greedy, deceitful, arrogant, envious, etc. We take these to God and simply agree with what He’s already said about them (and us). That’s all confession is. This is one of the most important ways to break the power of sin in your life—just talk honestly to God about it.
Confession that’s followed by continually choosing to repeat the same behavior doesn’t do much, and that’s where repentance comes in. If we confess our sins but keep on committing them, we’re right back in denial. Repentance is changing your mind. Choosing to think differently, and so act differently. You can’t do this successfully without the Holy Spirit working in you, and that’s why confession, which reconnects God and you because it gets these things that have been separating you out in the open and out of the way, comes first.
What do you want your life to look like? What do you want to be true of you? Do you want to know God’s will for your life? Do you want to live powerfully in your Supernatural Kingdom Identity? Do you want to make an impact on your world? Then start here, and revisit it regularly.
We love Easter Sunday and what we celebrate that day. We want the victory. We want the happy ending. But even Jesus didn’t get to the joy of Easter Sunday without the pain of Good Friday. He had to deal with our sin by making the sacrifice that would cleanse us from it. Only then does the Resurrection restore our relationship with God.
What makes us think we can do it any differently? We want the restored relationship, the blessings, and the promises that come with Jesus’ resurrection, but we can’t do it if we skip over our sin. None of the rest of the “good stuff” is possible without this regular, honest, and sometimes painful, time of evaluating where sin is getting a foothold in our lives and then choosing to turn away from it.
“De-nile” on the Jungle Cruise is a great pun. Denial of our sin in real life is no laughing matter. Confessing and repenting of it aligns your mind and heart with God, helps make His priorities yours, and clears the way for Him to work powerfully in and through you.
Question: Where has de-nile (or denial) taken you? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.