True Repentance

Listen, heavens, and pay attention, earth, for the LORD has spoken:
“I have raised children and brought them up,but they have rebelled against Me…

Stop bringing useless offerings.
I despise [your] incense.
New Moons and Sabbaths, and the calling of solemn assemblies — I cannot stand iniquity with a festival…

Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves.
Remove your evil deeds from My sight.
Stop doing evil.
Learn to do what is good.
Seek justice.
Correct the oppressor.
Defend the rights of the fatherless.
Plead the widow’s cause.
Come, let us discuss this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool.”                       Isaiah 1:2. 13, 16-18 (HCSB)

Repentance and acknowledging the consequences of my sins is not a subject that I want to hear. I would rather hear more about how much Jesus loves me and how merciful He is. Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is also the Lion of Judah who will come again as my Judge.

Repentance is not about sackcloth and ashes. It is not beating myself up. It is recognizing that I have sinned. I have chosen not to be obedient to God’s laws, commands, whatever they are called, just not “suggestions”. It is the part of Him that “does not change” (Malachi 3:6). If in asking God to forgive me, I hear things like, “Jody, you stupid idiot! You can’t do anything right! Just give it up! You can never be the woman God wants you to be!” – well, that isn’t God’s Spirit talking to me!!! Condemnation and feeling like I am being beat up by two big thugs is not the way God works. God is in the restoration business. God will convict me. He will be straight and true with me. “Jody, you really messed up. You got full of pride and put yourself above Me! And how did that work for you? It is time – right now to stop it! And come back to Me.” There it is. The truth. I messed up. He tells me exactly what I did and what I need to do. The next step is up to me. He’s waiting and ready to forgive and wash me clean – not because I deserve it, but because He loves me. Do I stop loving my child when she or he messes up? I don’t like what they did but I never stop loving them.

And then when I have said, “I am sorry, Father. I am so sorry. Please forgive me and make me clean.” This is when God says, “See, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19).  In this wonderful New Covenant, Jesus paid the price on Calvary for the sins I committed today. Jesus’ Blood was enough – so perfect and complete – to cover every sin that had been and would be committed.

I am restored. BUT God doesn’t want to stop there. He gave me Jesus as my Living Example and His Spirit to speak to me and remind me of His laws. God wants me to be better than I was. Repentance can happen in a moment but restoration should be more than a moment. It should be a lifetime of teaching and building and strengthening so that every day is better than the one before. I think this is when I understand and learn from the consequences of my actions. That homework isn’t easy but the payoff is a Spirit-filled life that lasts an eternity. Need to repent about something? Today is a good day.

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