Monday, February 9, 2015

Christian Life: Repentance

Yesterday we had an awesome service at our church.  Our Pastor preached on repentance and how we tend to think repentance is a negative word.  However, repentance is a gift from the Lord.  God made provision, through Jesus, for us to be forgiven from ALL our sins; past, present and future.  When we receive this Gift, we have the freedom and power to live as God has planned.  He, by His Holy Spirit, lives in us and guides and directs us each day.  It's not about gritting your teeth and trying extra hard to be "good", it's about LOVING Christ and letting Him do the work through you. When we RECEIVE Christ's love for us and realize all that He has done for us, loving Him comes natural. However, sometimes we get off track.  God doesn't move away from us, we move away from Him. For example,  we may start skipping our bible reading and prayer time because we are busy.  Next, we may start letting little things come in between us and the Lord.  Perhaps we compromise on something that in the past we would never compromise on.  On the other hand, maybe we are as close to God as possible, and Satan drops a lie into our lives that we believe.  Sometimes it's the thought that God really doesn't love you. If you believe this lie, you will find yourself seeking love in unhealthy places and unhealthy things.  I want to encourage you to always take these thoughts and measure them up to the Word of God.  God's Word is true.  Satan is a liar.

What if you are a Christian who has drifted away or has believed a lie and pulled away from God?  Sometimes we get in a place where we feel too far away from God to try to go back.  This brings us to the word repentance.  Repentance is a gift from God.  We come to Him, admit our sin, receive His forgiveness and can be in full fellowship with God once again. 1 John 1:9 (NLT) tells us: If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  Satan wants us to believe its a hard thing.  Christ will give us the power to do His will and it is His will we are in full fellowship with Him.  Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives us strength.  To be honest, recently I have found myself letting a negative attitude hang around in my heart and mind.  First, I just started grumbling about some things and not being thankful.  Next thing I knew, I was grumbling a lot and believing lies the enemy sent my way.  Before I knew it, my whole outlook became negative.  However, yesterday morning in church, I realized my negative attitude and ungratefulness was a sin.  As I prayed and asked God's forgiveness for not trusting His love for me and doubting His promises, an amazing thing happened; my joy came back!  It felt as if a load had been lifted in my heart.  None of my circumstances changed, but as I asked for forgiveness God washed over me.  Repentance is not a bad word.  It's a gift from God! 

If you are a child of God and have lost your joy, I want to encourage you to ask God to search your heart for any hidden thing that would be keeping you from full fellowship from the Lord.  It's really not hard to do.  God does love you and as His Word says, WILL forgive you.