But the clincher is what do we repent for? In the Christian realm, we need to repent for many things, sorry to break the news to you. You're probably wondering what do you need to change?
First of all, as a church, we need to repent of being lukewarm for Jesus, for allowing the things of this world, the allurements, to capture our heart. Things like money and all the goodies it can buy might be an issue for you, but more importantly, it's what you treasure in your heart. What do you spend your money and time pursuing? Take a moment and evaluate it. How far up or down on the list is Bible reading, prayer and worship? Do you spend the majority of your money on yourself or others? Of course, we all have bills, but what categories do they break down into? Do you give to the church?
I don't mean to condemn you, but to challenge you to reprioritize some things in your life. We need to confess our sins to Jesus in order to have pure hearts, so that the power of the Holy Spirit can fill us, especially as we pray and interact with others. In the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren emphasizes the importance of relationships. If we're focused on things, we put less time and energy into relationships. It's a litmus test for the treasures we are storing, either those of this earth or of heaven.
So why is repentance important and what does it have to do with relationships? As we look at our own sin, we become more humble and are less likely to be noticing everyone else's sin. The tendency is to have more compassionate hearts and want to reach out to help them. Clean hearts wield more power with God in prayer and prompt us to greater action. Often this action brings change. First a change of heart, then a change of our behavior and what we do. We become less self centered and more God centered. More God centered Christians effect more change on the earth and in the spiritual realm.
In addition, repentance often moves the hand of God to act on our behalf and what is ultimately best for us. However, we should not confess our sins with selfish aims, but that the will of God and His purpose will be done in us. And what is the first step in that process? Repentance-a turning away from the ways of self towards the ways of God.
It's a word that a lot of churches avoid today because of not wanting to scare away the seekers and attract the youth, but sorry, without repentance you don't have the true picture of the Christian faith. If we want change, we need authentic repentance, not some kind of forced confession or kneeling to appease the world and its systems, but honest confession to God. We should confess to Him our sins of pride, hatred, prejudice, self-centeredness, anger, violence, murderous thoughts and chasing after the idols of the world (things such as power, money, entertainment).
So I'm asking all of my readers, myself included, to pray about repenting. Ask God to cleanse your heart and forgive your sins, to give you eyes that really see yourself and your neighbor. Ask him to fill you with His love in order to foster relationships, to have wisdom in everything you say and do, to pray without ceasing and make an impact in someone's eternal destiny. That's the kind of true change that we need!!
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