Repentance…

Repentance.  In a day of feel-good, touchy-feely sermons, preaching on repentance seems awkward.  Awkward but necessary.

There’s two kinds of repentance:  1)  Initial repentance for salvation.   This repentance means realizing that you can’t save yourself and that Jesus is your only hope.  Therefore, you turn away from your self-confidence and turn toward Jesus for forgiveness, making him the Lord of your life.   This repentance assures us that Christ has forgiven us of ALL (past, present, and future) of our sins and makes us absolutely and totally acceptable to God – forever.  Period.  2)  Continued repentance for the Christian journey.  This repentance doesn’t have to do with our salvation (#1 took care of that).  This repentance is a daily process in which the Holy Spirit reveals un-Christ-like issues in our lives and nudges us to turn from them so we may look more like Christ.   This repentance has nothing to do with legalism or Law-keeping or trying “to be a better person”.  It is a work of grace that God does through us – the process of sanctification.  Repentance, here, simply allows God the continued opportunity to do his grace-work in us.

Questions:  How is your heart today?  How is your spirit?  What is the condition of your interior life?

As Christians, we continue to disobey, rebel, and sin.  The Bible describes sin as hardness, darkness, stiff-neckedness, stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience.  1 Samuel 15 even describes rebellion as the sin of witchcraft.  Sin is serious – even in the life of Christian.

The good news Jesus always invites his followers to repent and turn from their disobedience.

REPENTANCE IS THE FIRST STEP IN REPAIRING YOUR LIFE.  The rebellion and disobedience we practice has a way of breaking our lives.  For healing to take place – repentance is the first step.  Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps doesn’t repair your life.  Changing churches doesn’t repair your life.  Finding a new spouse doesn’t repair your life.  Self-improvement doesn’t repair your life.  Repentance is the first step.

REPENTANCE IS A CHANGE OF MIND THAT LEADS TO A CHANGE OF ACTION.  Both the Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible describing repentance indicate that repentance is a 1) change of mind that leads to 2) a change of action.

I offer some general areas in which you might want to consider some reparative repentance.  Let me explain where this list came from.  Several days ago, I engaged in a 24-hour period of prayer and fasting.  I’d planned to pray about our church and its direction for the year but God chose instead to do some work in my personal life.  You can see my related post entitled PRAYERFUL OBSERVATIONS.  I describe it as wonderfully excruciating.  One of the things he pointed out to me was my need of repentance in some areas of my own life.  This is the list he gave me (don’t attempt to read things into the details – that’s my business!).  However, it is somewhat of a public confession.  It was a long and arduous process – but very healing and life-restoring.  So, this is from my own experience, therefore, I’m not condemning or judging you.  It simply may be that some of the following areas may be some areas that you need to do some repenting in as well.

You and I may need to repent of…

1.  The havoc you’ve wreaked.  There are simply some Christians that wreak havoc, drama, and chaos everywhere they go.  Are you one of them?  There are businesses, communities, families, neighborhoods, and churches that suffer tremendously because of self-centered Christians who create tension and drama.

2.  The money you’ve squandered.  God places resources into our hands to steward…not to spend entirely on ourselves.

3.  The words you’ve spoken.  Consider both the quality (critical, negative, whiny, complaining) of your words and the quantity of your words (we live in a talkative generation – sometimes we just need to be quiet).

4.  The over-reactions you’ve executed.  Emotional outbursts and decisions made from emotions are usually unhealthy and often disrupt other people’s lives and plans.  Are you driven by emotions (even emotions that seem good at the time)?  What damage has it done?

5.  The people you’ve hurt.  What kind of pain have you brought to others with your words, actions, attitudes.  Are you willing to ask for forgiveness?  For many of us the most spiritual thing we could do today is call someone (perhaps a relative, co-worker, fellow church member, pastor, spouse, son or daughter, mom or dad) whom we’ve hurt deeply and apologize to them.

Perhaps your refusal to repent and make some things right is the reason you feel so bound-up, inhibited, and joyless.

The good news?  God knows our weaknesses and loves us anyway.  God is supremely patient with us.  God invites us to come to him in confession and repentance.  God longs to restore us and allow us to move on in joy and victory.

~ by jackpickel on February 6, 2013.

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