Monday, November 19, 2012
Prayer: Father, today I praise You that the substance of my faith is measurable in tangible ways. While I know that works will never save me, I thank You that my salvation will by necessity change the way I live. Help me, on this day, to demonstrate the reality of true repentance, both in my attitudes and actions.
Protect me from bitterness over the consequences of my sins and give me the strength to honor You as a new creation in Christ. Thank You for giving me grace that is always sufficient. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Key word reading: “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” Matthew 3:8
This morning while reading the word of God I was giving thought to a lesson we were talking about yesterday in church. We see so many people saying such things as Jesus saved me or how I love God and what he did for me, or how he’s helped me.
But in the fact many of these folks truly never show any changes outside of Church or show no changes in their lifestyles of how they live nor give up the things in their live that should not be their. The reason is because of no true repentance of what they do, live or of things they say.
True Repentance is never easy. Flimsy excuses, self-righteous blame, and blind justification often minimize our behavior as anything but sin, leaving us negotiating with God to justify our actions, rather than pleading for His forgiveness.
Apparently, the Pharisees and Sadducees caught the eye of John the Baptist as he preached in the wilderness, evoking a sharp rebuke for the hypocrisy of their self-righteousness.
His words cut us as well, for they serve as a reminder that the evidence of repentance is not mere confession, grief, or adherence to religious standards that are often void of heart transformation.
To the contrary, life change, both inside and out, is the ultimate mark of a genuine abandonment of sin and turning toward God. The broken person knows he does not deserve forgiveness and will forsake his pride and sin in order to receive it.
Good deeds born out of humility are the fruit of repentance. Religious activity, extensive sacrifice, and even diligent prayer may or may not meet this criterion.
Ultimately, the key is not what people think about you, but what God knows about you. Is repentance something you do, or is it a reflection of who you are?
True repentance comes from a sorrowful heart and the real change is on the inside, and not just on the outside. Amen