““But even now,” says the Lord, “repent sincerely and return to me with fasting and weeping and mourning. Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough.” Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish.” Joel 2:12-13
Repentence. I admit at times I used the word without the change in heart. There was been no weeping, mourning or sorrow. My broken heart was more because of feeling I needed to give up something my flesh did not want to give up. Maybe I was not kicking and screaming, but I certainly was dragging my feet. When I teach littles about repentance,
we do a 180° jump around to shift our entire body. I want them to understand it is not just a little thing, but body, mind and spirit shift.
I believe God doesn’t want pretend repentance. He desires the internal work, not just the external. He’s not looking for behavior modification outside of a heart modification. God cares about the motives of the heart. We can do the right thing, but if our motive is wrong He is not going to credit it to us.
“You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.” Proverbs 16:2
“You may think that everything you do is right, but remember that the Lord judges your motives.” Proverbs 21:2
“So you should not pass judgment on anyone before the right time comes. Final judgment must wait until the Lord comes; he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people’s minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
The Lord will be patient with us, as long as we
are working towards the change in heart. Some times, it is an immediate change. Other times it is a gradual thing.
I remember when I was younger, I quit smoking. Although I picked it back up down the road for a while, when I stopped it was an immediate thing. A young child spoke to me about smoking, and it penetrated my heart. It wasn’t a “I think it’s time to stop.” I just stopped.
When I stopped smoking pot, it was a gradual thing. It was slowly removed from my life. I felt the nudge, but I wasn’t ready. I started cutting back, but still used on the weekends. I started using less and less as I drew closer and closer to God. Then I had a wake up call and smoked twice in two years, I haven’t touched it since. It’s been almost 23 years.
God was patient with me. He showed me mercy even when I slipped up, and didn’t give my own self mercy. He let me come to Him. His arms were opened wide to me when I was ready to be truly repentant.
I am thankful for the times that God protected
me from the consequences of my actions, especially as a teenager. I am blessed that I never bore the full weigh of my actions. The Lord bore my sin and I was able to live a life blessed by Him.
There were some consequences I did have to learn to live with. I am grateful for that too because He let me come to a true place of repentance. He changed my life and allows me to share that transformation to help others.
prayer – Lord, continue to show me areas where I need to repent. I want to come to You with my whole life, not just areas that are easy to give You. Break my heart for what breaks your heart. I thank You for being patient, merciful and forgiving, help me to never take that for granted.
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