These weird and wonderful lives we have been born into often confuse us, ignite us, crush us and flow like waves over us. We cannot escape it, we have to live it. It is our gift and our cross.
Recently I’ve become so aware of the fact that the act of repentance hardly crosses my mind. When do we think about repentance, in the midst of these lives we live? It is almost a specific topic or theme left outside of our priorities. A subject for someone to preach over, present a course about or write a book on.
We most certainly do not regard saying : “I’m sorry” or asking for forgiveness as a way of life or a healthy habit to uphold. To be honest, the first thought that might resound with you is that: “Repentance would define me as being weak”. We feel more comfortable with healthy habits categorized in the physical health section of our schedules and sometimes desperate short quiet times on our way to work, to school or home.
Thing is, above all, I catch myself waking-up in the mornings with a very real need that somehow everything is; or will at some stage today, feel under (my) control. Somewhere deep inside I – or most of us – do hear a little voice saying: “that’s not how it works”, but never the less; we will haul our beings into regaining control. The safe, predictable side of life?
Repentance does not confirm the feeling of control or safety, what it does confirm is vulnerability, transparency and humility. Ideas that make us feel uneasy.
I have been a child of God for a number of years, and the basics of believing in God, and accepting salvation according to Christianity Module 101 reads: “Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Yes, we did repent when we got saved, but our sins most definitely did not disappear into thin air. We are saved day after day, after day. When our dependence on God shifts to our human effort our help most definitely does not come from the Maker of heaven and earth. Why would I then ask for forgiveness from someone whom I do not involve in my everyday life, struggles, joys, victories? We hardly ask for forgiveness from each other, we defend, attack or look for excuses for our behavior.
God urges us to repent so that we will not hide from Him in shame and try to do everything by ourselves. He teaches us to trust Him with our deepest darkest secrets so that He can help us out of the mess we made. Repentance turns agony into freedom, control into surrender, us to be victorious in this life because we “ooze” out of the Vine. Repentance turns into dependence on God. Repentance puts a hold on a judgmental attitude.
This is both good things.
We need to learn to depend, hope and trust in Him. Not just read the verse and say the words.
If we do not repent, we hide from God. We miss out on all He can do for us, the strength, the peace and the love He has for us. We forget that nothing can separate us from His love, He knows our sins, but He cannot forgive if our hearts doesn’t repent. That’s all we need to do, instead of all the other things we do to secure the hiding place away from God and the truth.
Right in the beginning on that woeful day when Adam and Eve believed the enemy’s lies, they hid away. God understood their shamefulness and covered them up with animal skin. He understood, He didn’t expose, He covered them. His Son’s blood covers our sins now.
He is our safe place to talk.
Repentance is not about Him, it’s about us, that’s why Jesus had to die, so that we could be safe, with Him, under His wings.
His word is so clear on this. He aches to stand in the gap of sin for us.
I encourage you to take the risk, and be honest with Him. Share your heart with Him. Your relief will be much more than you can dare to imagine.
These verses spoke to my heart, I pray that they might speak to yours too.