19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, - Acts 3:19-20
Repent appears over and over in scripture as a way to remind us this is where we should live - in repentance. Repentance literally means rethinking or a change of mind. It involves our emotions and our will, but it begins with a change in the way we think. We all sin, and we all confess. But repentance is more than just confessing our sins. It's getting to the root of the problem, confronting the lie in our belief system, and literally changing the way we think. When we sin, we must take the time to root the lies out of our sins before we will ever get to repentance.
For example, we may tell a lie. Lying is sinful, so we confess our sin of lying. This isn't repentance, and if we stop here - at simply confessing our sins - then we will most likely be caught in that sin-confess-repeat cycle. We will lie again unless we get to the root of the reason we lie. Repentance begins by sitting down with God and allowing Him to reveal to us the deeper rooted lie we believe that causes us to sin. Perhaps we lied because we were boasting about something, because we wanted people to like us, or think better of us. If we're lying to people because we want them to like us - there's a deeper sin issue of fearing man over God. We're more concerned with what people think of us than we are the will of God. We are finding our value and our worth in people's opinion of us over God's opinion of us. People have become our idol.
Perhaps we need to take it even further - why are people our idols? Why do we value their opinion of us over God? Perhaps we are not trusting God in a particular area of our lives. If we want to stop lying, if we want to find true repentance over our sin, then we must get to the root of the problem and change our thinking that is causing us to lie. Only then will we begin to find freedom.
We can hate our trials, and resist or fight against them. We can point to the problem or blame others and complain about how we don't deserve this. As new symptoms and conditions arise, or new revelations of difficulties I'm going to have to deal with come to light, it is so easy for me to go to a place of anger or deep sadness at the injustice of my trials - it just doesn't make sense why I have to go through this. There are moments when I want desperately want to turn the clock back 4 weeks and go back to enjoying my health and my freedom.
But after all the kicking and screaming, I have to come to a place of quiet reflection with my God and Savior. The reality is He is sovereign over all things, and He has allowed this trial into my life for a very specific reason. No, He didn't give me cancer, but He did allow it to happen, and it's not all for someone else's benefit. It's for mine. There are dark places in my heart that need light shed on them, and the reality is that just won't happen when I'm living a life of comfort. Those places only bubble to the surface under pressure - there are deep sins and strongholds in our lives that just won't show their face when life is going according to our plan. Here's a hard-hitting truth —>; God allows us trials in our lives because we esteem comfortable living more than we esteem redemption. We don't seek redemption as much as we seek an easy life. Just look at our prayer life - God, make this go away, fix that, make this happen. What I want is for everything to go my way. People who question God's goodness in trials are essentially saying: if you give me a comfortable life, then I'll tell people about you, then I'll sing praises, then I'll serve. We are a shameful, arrogant lot of people sometimes. Why do we live in a broken world, why do we experience trials? *So that we desire redemption more than comfort*. And for that to happen, we need to get to a place where we stop complaining to Him about our trials and our troubles, asking for Him to take them away and make our lives comfortable. Instead, we need to turn to Him with arms open in humility, and ask Him to reveal to us where our sin and our strongholds exist so that we may repent of them. It is only then that we will find times of refreshing and a true sense of comfort in our lives.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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