Repentance of the Heart

Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend. Not on Twitter, but in my heart.  The pesky people that wrote Gospel-Centered Life, as well as the illuminating power of the Holy Spirt, made me realize that my repentance is often shallow. In their chapter on repentance, they write piercing truths such as the following:

“…Repentance often becomes more about US than about God or the people we’ve sinned against.  We want to feel better. We want things to be ‘back to normal.’  We want to know that we’ve done our part, so that guilt is assuaged and we can move on with life.”

Knife in heart, twisting slowly.

I love Normal. It’s comfortable. I like to snuggle up next to Normal with a hot cup of coffee and a good book on a really comfy couch. But for Jesus, I’d stay on that couch everyday.

In Luke 6, Jesus says, “Out of the overflow of [the] heart, [the] mouth speaks.” So, whenever we say an unkind word to someone else or think a jealous thought, that should set off an alarm: Something is going on in my heart. Normal, who I love, would quickly have me ask forgiveness for the words I said–which is an important part of repentance. BUT, it’s also time to get off the couch with Normal and address the deep waters of the heart with Jesus.

Yesterday, I received good news about some friends. Outwardly, I was cheerful, but inwardly, I noticed something wasn’t quite right. I could tell I was jealous. (Alarm going off.)

So, what do I do when jealousy creeps in?  I  can  certainly ask God to forgive me for a jealous heart, but I felt Him pressing me to move further. Why was I  jealous? Is it simply because I wanted what they had? Well, yes, that’s part of it. But there’s more. Jealousy often reveals  discontentment and a lack of thankfulness.  Now we’re getting somewhere. In my heart, there resides a forgetfulness of all the ways God has been gracious to me and a resistance to Him as the Writer of my story.

Okay, now Normal has been shoved off the couch and I can begin to offer the sins  of my heart to Jesus. I’ve been reminding my little Stephen that Jesus is a safe place to admit where we’re wrong, to bring Him our sins, and receive his forgiveness. So I need to practice what I preach.

Daily reminder: Jesus is a safe place to unleash the deep waters of my heart.

Have I been thankless? Yes, Jesus forgive me.  Have I been discontent? Yes, Jesus forgive me. Has the disposition of my heart led to jealousy? Yes, Jesus have mercy. Then, I receive his forgiveness with joy and walk in freedom, because those sins have been paid for and nothing, not even my sin or shallow repentance, can separate me from the love of Christ.

Daily reminder #2: “Joy will never come by denying our deep sinfulness; rather it must come by seeing how huge our sin really is and how completely it has been dealt with in Christ.” Barbara Duguid, Extravagant Grace.

Yes! May it be so. May we find joy in bringing our deepest sins to Jesus, knowing that He’s dealt with them on the cross and He’s faithful and just to forgive.

 

 

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