Spiritual Detox by Howard Satterthwaite
A book of encouragement for us all as we ‘discover the joy of liberating confession’, not as a one-off but a daily dose
Spiritual Detox - Discovering the joy of liberating confession
By Howard Satterthwaite
Reviewed by Martin M’Caw
I am not familiar with much medical stuff. So I googled detox and Wikipedia told me it is an ongoing ‘medicinal removal of toxic substances from the body’. Hence the title Spiritual Detox telling about the removal of toxic substances from soul and spirit through confession. As I understand it, medicinal detox is more than a one-off. For it to be effective a good length of time is required. It’s at this point the spiritual parallel kicks in, except confession is lifelong.
It is very helpful reading for people involved in pastoral work as well as individual believers. 1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all righteousness’ is broken down into ten short chapters about confession being an ongoing discipline feeding the redeeming love of God within us. The questions for reflection are helpful for the individual reader and group work, but for me, the key parts are the five pertinent individual personal accounts of the experience of confession which bring alive the overall sub-title ‘discovering the joy of deeper fellowship with God through confession’.
While he still stumbled and returned to old ways Robert discovered how he found repentance and ‘God’s love and faithfulness see me through.’ Detox is ongoing: not a one-off.
Megan whose faith was rooted ‘in the spiritual realm of the occult’ experienced a life-transforming change when she came to faith in Christ . The Scriptures challenged her about practising astrology and worshipping the sun, moon and stars and gave her a gentle opening of her eyes to see this was wrong. God didn’t hit her with all her sins at once but drew her conscience to them one by one. She kept confessing her sins to God ‘and the shame fell away. It was such a freeing experience’.
Phil , a self-confessed self-righteous prig, found through confession God continued to save him from being just a religious man as he learned to abide in God’s loving acceptance of him. Micah’s experience taught him to focus on daily confession to God when he realised the ‘costly love of the cross, saying ‘I don’t want to allow myself to become distant again from the God of amazing grace’.
Throughout the book Howard Satterthwaite uses relevant Bible passages to apply them to our feelings of failure, guilt, and worthlessness; not to write us off as useless sinners but to recognise the enormous life-changing scope of God’s redeeming and forgiving love through the cross. He shows how our exercising biblical knowledge changes and deepens our experience of God’s love from the moment of confession to the continued closer walk with God.
His final word is ‘Just do it…God is inviting you to experience the inexpressible joy of deeper fellowship with Him.’ It’s a book of encouragement for us all as we ‘discover the joy of liberating confession’ not as a one-off but a daily dose.
The Revd Dr Martin M’Caw (Retired Baptist minister and retired Wing Chaplain No2 Welsh Wing RAF Cadets)