21 August 2015

On Repentance

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." ~Acts 2:36-38
In answer to the people's heart-stricken cry of "What shall we do?", Peter answers, saying (my paraphrase):

"Change the way you look at and comprehend things (Romans 12:2), begin, and then continue, to let God renew your minds constantly so you can turn toward Him in all things, more and more."

Repentance has gone from a dreaded, guilt-ridden burden to one of the greatest joys of my life. It is a continuous learning from God, resulting in an adjusting of things within myself, and then receiving an increased portion--an increase in bandwidth and spectrum--of the Holy Spirit, which then teaches me more about the heart of God, who God is, what God's will is for me, which then changes the way I see things, beginning the process again. So incredibly different from the way I used to understand and approach repentance: a five-step penance checklist for the bad line items in my otherwise righteous life.

Father God, I'm in awe of You. Every day is an incredible gift, a packet of wonder and beauty and JOY in what You do among Your children. You keep on astounding me as You reveal more of who You are, more of Your character, desires and attributes. And what a delight it is to my soul that I get to exist in a constant process of learning what You reveal (which learning is so lovely, in and of itself!), then adjusting my life to the new understanding, only to learn more of Your kindness, mercy, love and grace! God, let my walk today be saturated with YOU. Let Your reach be extended into the areas of my influence. Make me a sponge, Lord, to be immersed into and soak up Your living water, and then release it generously into the lives around me. Living Your will, more and more, bit by bit each day, is the most precious gift. Let it rain, Father. Open hearts to receive, minds to comprehend, and let souls be saved, in Jesus' name, amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!