walk in the word
Today, today if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.” Psalm 95:7
How we deal with our sin defines us. From last week you’ll remember that David had a pretty good thing going on with God until he chose to sin He then learned that no amount of spiritual victory can erase the effects of the sin that he chose until he came to a place of repentance.
That’s the key word, repentance. It is the absolute, #1 survival skill for the follower of Jesus Christ. The way to deal with your own sin is through repentance.
For a whole year, David, the mighty king of Israel, refused to repent and covered his sin. Can you imagine how that must have grieved the angels in heaven? They must have whooped and hollered when David spoke truth . . . finally the truth. David admitted, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). He made no excuses and offered no explanations. He flat out took total responsibility. That’s ordinary repentance.
All change begins with a change of mind. In fact, the Greek word metanoai literally means ‘to change your mind.’ Repentance says in effect, ‘if I could go back, I would do it differently; I would not make that choice again. The future will show that I truly repent of the past.’ This is how we get right with God.
Are you willing to consider that this word is for you today? Is this an appointment from God?
As followers of Jesus Christ we all fall short; none of us is everything God calls us to be (James 3:2). Repentance is the way to deal with the next thing that God would change in you. It’s the way to be honest about where you are spiritually—about not being satisfied with status quo. Instead of caving in and saying, “Well, I’m better than most . . .”, the follower of Christ presses hard after God, seeking to experience the fullness of joy found in that honest relationship with God.
I asked the Lord to give me some insight that I might probe your thinking on this. Consider these things:
Some of you have left a church where you used to worship. Is everything right between you and the believers there? Forget their failure—did you do what was right? Did you say right things? Or did you sow discord or cause division? Today—deal with your part, whatever that is. Ask God to forgive you and make it right. “He who ascends to the hill of the Lord must have clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4).
Is your marriage cold? Have things been left undone or unsaid? Has your focus been elsewhere? Has the selflessness and loving exchange that used to exist in your relationship gone? You’ve focused on the other person’s failure, but now focus on your own. First and foremost, this issue is between you and God. You promised God some things. You told Him you would be a certain kind of wife/husband. Let His transforming work in you prompt the turning point in your partner’s heart. Deal with your part first.
For some single adults living in our sexually charged culture, it’s so difficult to live righteously. Perhaps you’ve compromised your purity in a present or past relationship. You may have tried to leave it behind you but can I ask you, have you repented of it? Have you made it right and sought forgiveness?
Maybe you’ve cut a corner in your business dealings; you’ve injured someone’s reputation and their career has been hurt. Have you ever asked God to forgive you? Have you ever asked that person to forgive you? Have you dealt with it?
Maybe you struggle with a personal addiction—a private sin of some kind. God will forgive you if you sincerely repent. You could go forward without this besetting sin. You can be changed. It could start today.
How willing we are to repent of sin reveals our sincerity in following Christ. Or are we just playing a game? Do we just want a spiritual veneer? Who would join me in saying that I want to be right with God—whatever it takes; whatever it costs?
Repentance is the pathway to God’s kind of radical transformation.
I challenge you, follower of Christ, make a bold decision to turn from sin and repent. The longer our rebellion lasts, the harder it is to get back. Some will read this and go on like it was nothing. For certain, God will go after them, but it will be increasingly more painful for them to turn around. Every day of rebellion is another plank kicked out of the bridge back to God. It just gets harder and harder and harder. That’s why Psalm 95:7 says, “Today, today if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.” Makes you wonder if David wrote that Psalm. From experience.
Ordinary repentance—that’s the road that David walked back to God. The route is the same for every true follower of Christ.
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