Repentance tends to get a bad rap. I think it is one of life's greatest gifts. This week I bit my husband's head off. His brain is mostly still attached, but I was mean. I was angry, short-tempered, and totally exhausted. It wasn't cool. It wasn't ok. It was sin. So I won't try to defend or justify it. Why do I still act like this? It makes no sense to me how I can be writing blogs and songs telling about my great love for Jesus and then…BOOM: Ugly Rachel shows up to poop on the party. #boo.
Rather than defend myself or my poor actions, I apologized to my husband. The next morning I repented before God and agreed with Him about my sinful behavior (not identity), and we were back online together. He made it all good. The "ugly" stuff is not really who I am. Not anymore. It was my old nature, the dead nature, trying to resurrect itself and be a nuisance! It was time to put that dead guy back into the coffin; and quick repentance does just that.
How often do we choose defense though instead of repentance? Eek.
God would rather we just repent
than defend our actions.
Defense puts up walls. Repentance tears them down.
Defense is self-protection. Repentance is self-disclosing.
Defense says "I have to be perfect." Repentance says, "I made a mistake."
Defense says, "You're hurting me. It's not safe." Repentance says, "I need surgery, and this will bring healing."
What if the real you was actually patient, kind, generous, and open to feedback? What if feedback was your greatest resource for growth? What if you could take a breath and respond, rather than overreact and blow up?
Life would get better.
Sometimes it's good to do a check in with yourself. If you're willing, here's a couple of brave questions to ask yourself:
What kind of fruit am I bearing? (Would my family, friends, coworkers, or people I encounter, agree with me?)
Is my fruit good? Does it reflect the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness…etc.?
If the fruit you are primarily characterized by is not the above, you're either in denial, deceived, disconnected from the Holy Spirit, or under the influence of a different spirit.
Head knowledge about the Word of God is not enough to bear fruit in your life. It must get into the deeper places of your heart and spirit-man. It's not about how much you know in your head, it's about the actual connection and relationship with God Himself; Heart to heart, Spirit to spirit. And the proof is in the fruit pudding. And the fruit pudding should taste good.
If you're feeling a specific conviction in your spirit as you read this -- GOOD! That means the Holy Spirit is talking to you and you are sensitive enough to hear His voice. Throw a party and listen!
If you're feeling condemned, ashamed, and like a loser…then you need to tell those voices to be quiet, because they are lying to you, and they are not from God. Any voice that shames, condemns, and belittles you is not from God. Period.
God always has specific areas of correction. His voice is always full of hope. He always has solutions to our problem areas. He always responds to repentance. God convicts and corrects, but never condemns the believer. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Those are His words, so we can bank on them.
I'm still on a journey friend. I make mistakes and sin. But I hope you'll join me in becoming a quick repenter, a first responder. Sometimes everything in us wants to defend our remark, attitude, or action…but we both know it's just better to repent.
Joyfully, (and back to my true self)
PS - Be like Denver the dog…a perfect picture of repentance. <wink> Enjoy this funny video.