Saturday, March 10, 2012

True Repentance Is A Matter Of The Heart

God tells us to stop playing around and get real.

Joel 2:12-14 That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.”

Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. 14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the LORD your God as before.

In today's world, it is difficult to imagine that it is impossible to tolerate something, we have been told that truth isn't rock solid so therefore we can't possibly know what is right and wrong. The result of that kind of logic is that you have to tolerate everything, you get to decide what is right and wrong for yourself but don't impose your thinking on anybody else.

My God isn't tolerant, he is patient, merciful and forgiving, but he isn't going to allow me to live how I want to live for very long. In the tolerant society we live in, it is hard to understand that he cannot tolerate our sin, holy God cannot do it. He isn't going to tolerate fake repentance either, God doesn't want me to go through the religious motions and check off all of the boxes on my religious to do list, he wants a true change of heart.
Signs of a renewed heart
✔ Loves the Bible - Psalm 119:162
✔ Confident hope - Ephesians 1:18-19
✔ Desire for holiness - Colossians 3:1-2
✔ Desire to seek God - Psalm 119:10
✔ Encouraged - Psalm 73:26
✔ Joyful - Psalm 4:7
The prophet Joel told the people of Israel that God is reaching out to us to save us from judgement, God said "Give me your heart." basically he said "make a u-turn and come back."

If we are truly his children then there was a time when we knew with all of our heart just how disgusting and filthy we are, we knew that we needed a heart cleaner, and at the moment that we ask God to come into our hearts he starts the cleaning process.

Sometimes we walk away from the cleaning, that's okay, if we are truly repentant for doing so, God says that we can come back without fear. He is anxious to take us back and keep working on us, the prophet says in today's scripture that he is "eager to relent" he would prefer to shower us with love and mercy but he will not tolerate our arrogance and rebellion forever.

My God says that I need to be patient, merciful and forgiving but he doesn't give me the luxury of tolerating wrong, not even in my own life. This Easter season, I need to choose to receive a blessing instead of a curse from God, I need to examine my heart daily and be sure that is has the signs of a heart that has been renewed.

Thank you Lord for your patience and mercy, thank you for going to the cross and healing that nasty wound called sin, making a way for me to be your child. I want to live for you every day.