Repentance

>> September 28, 2009


Bruce recently posed this question on his blog:

WHY IS TRUE REPENTACE SO DIFFICULT TO REALIZE?

This is a question we have discussed a lot around here, because we spent the last week in preparation to celebrate the Day of Atonement with Epic, so… I have been pondering this question a lot myself.

Why IS true repentance so difficult to realize?
I have come up with a lot of reasons why…
1. We are only repentant because that’s what the Bible says we should do.
2. We aren’t really sorry for that sin - maybe we’re sorry someone got hurt or that we got caught, etc.., but we’re not really sorry for the actual sin.
3. Our values are too entwined with the world’s values and we don’t really agree that what we are needing to be repentant for is that bad.
4. We have a small view of God.
5. We don’t trust God to take care of us better than we can take care of ourselves.
6. …. (I could go on.)

Yet, as I think about those reasons and any other I can come up with, I think the real reason – the hard reason – is that we love ourselves more than we love God.

Are you now saying, "No, I really LOVE God?"
That was me when the Holy Spirit first revealed this to me.
But I took a step back and looked at my actions.
What do my actions say about how I love God more than I love myself and my desires?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
I'm a firm believer that actions speak louder than words.

You can tell me you love me all you want, but if your actions don't fall in line then I don't feel loved and have a really hard time believing your words. Because, honestly, if you really did love me then you wouldn't treat me like that.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

And honestly, if I really did love Him more then I wouldn't treat Him like that.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
My love for Him can't have worldly standards.

And yes, we have a sin nature that flares its ugly head all too often.
Paul talked about that in Romans 7 saying, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me…” It goes on and it’s a really good argument. But Paul doesn’t just leave it saying, “I have no control and no answer to this sin nature in me.”
No, he says in the end of Chapter 7, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
And then in Chapter 8 goes on to say, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

For me, the truth of the matter is that, when I am having trouble with true repentance – committing the same sin over and over – I have to face the reality of either my love for that sin, or my love for how that sin seems to help me, the reality that I have my mind set on what the sinful nature desires.

And I have to ask God to give me His perspective and help me to love Him MORE so that my mind can be set on what the Spirit desires.

For me, the answer is SOOOO simple and yet SOOOOO hard.
Lord help me to love you MORE!

This is the song that I have been singing a lot this week…

Every Day in every way
I need more of You and less of me
To sacrifice and to obey
I need more of You in my life
I need more of You in my will,
More of You in my ways,
I need more of You in my thoughts,
More of You in my days.

Jesus, You are so holy
And Jesus, You are so good
More of You and less of me is what
I need each day to bring
Until the day You consume my everything

3 responses:

Crystal September 29, 2009 at 8:19 AM  

Yes and I also think there is a strong enemy who vies for our affection. The last thing Satan wants us to do is repent for sin and fall more in love with God. However, God is stronger and willing to help us in our effort to weed out distraction and make room to love Him more completely.

I've heard of repentance as "changing the way you think" and for me that is often the "action" part of love and true repentance. However, I'm a far cry from arriving.

Rhonda September 29, 2009 at 8:24 AM  

Amen Crystal!

I'm a far cry from arriving too.

Diana September 29, 2009 at 9:55 PM  

"My love for Him can't have worldly standards" - that speaks to me so much! Thanks for your words of conviction and inspiration!

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