Hello everyone! I trust you are all having a blessed day! Remember, “today is the day the Lord has made” so you better “rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24) I know, I know – it’s easier said than done a lot of the time. Here’s the thing – if everything came easy we wouldn’t need faith, but that’s a topic for another blog. Today I would like to talk to you a little bit about repentance. Let’s get to it!
I would like to start off by reading Acts 26:20…
Acts 26:20 (NKJV)
20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
There are three very important words in that verse that we must understand:
The first word, works, refers to a person’s daily actions or deeds. The second word, befitting, means worthy of, proving, or suitable. Lastly, repentance is a turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and turning back to God. So if we put the words and definitions into a sentence to better understand what Paul is saying it would look a little something like this: Your daily actions, or deeds, must prove that you have turned away from sin, disobedience, and rebellion and returned to God. Now let’s try to simplify it even more: The way you live must prove that you have turned away from sin. Get? Got it? Good!
I feel the need to explain this further. We all sin. We all “fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) So I present you with a question…if you sin, are you a sinner? Good question, right? I thought so myself. Now, let me present you with my answer. Falling into sin does not make you a sinner. Continually sinning makes you a sinner. A sinner is someone who consistently and constantly forsakes God for their sin. On the other hand, there are people who commit a sin and immediately repent. This shows a consciousness of the love and grace of God. This shows that the person is aware of their wrongdoing, and has made a choice to move past the sin into the grace of God. Too many of us are taught that we are “sinners saved by grace.” I get it. It’s the truth. However, with that teaching comes the mindset I am a sinner. If you are “saved by grace” then you are no longer a sinner. You are a new creation by your belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You are a child of God capable of overcoming sin because of the power of the grace of God. You were once a sinner saved by grace, but after being saved, you are now a person capable of overcoming sin because God has given us the “victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) It’s important, as Christians, to understand that grace isn’t simply to be forgiven of the ramifications of sin, but, more importantly, to overcome sin.
Now, some of us wander through our “Christian” lives wondering if God hears our prayers. If God is so powerful, why hasn’t he given me what I asked for? If God really loved me he would answer my prayers.
- God wants to give us what we want. More importantly, he has placed importance on giving us what we need. If he gave us everything we wanted, we would be spoiled rotten children crying about everything. Plus, he has already given his son, which is definitely more than we deserved.
- Many of us think God doesn’t answer our prayers based on the fact that we don’t receive what we asked for. It’s as if we have forgotten that “no,” along with “wait”, are also answers. They are answers we don’t like, but answers nonetheless.
- A lot of the times that we don’t “receive an answer” or fail to get what we want, it is a result of our own actions in our walk with God. There is a disconnection in your relationship with God due to something you may have done.
Let’s go to Isaiah 59:1 & 2…
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear
At this particular time, Israel is in trouble and God is not listening to them. Israel turned away from God, and now that they need him, have decided to ask him for help. Sound familiar? Verse 2 says “your iniquities have separated you from God.” Iniquities are the equivalent of sin. So Isaiah is telling the nation of Israel, “God can’t hear you because your sin has caused a separation in your relationship with him.” Verse 1 gives us a little insight as to what the Israelites are thinking. The Lord’s hand is shortened. He can’t save us. His ear is heavy. He can’t hear us. Isaiah pretty much tells them not to think that. By saying “the Lord’s hand is not shortened” he is saying “God isn’t too weak to answer your prayers.” When he says “nor his ear heavy” he is saying “God isn’t deaf.” A lot of us are no different from the Israelites, in this aspect. God doesn’t answer our prayer – he probably couldn’t do it anyway, it was probably too hard for him. Listen to the words of Isaiah: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God.” Have you allowed sin to create a separation in your relationship? Have you allowed sin to make you think God isn’t able? God isn’t weak, and he certainly isn’t deaf. To close the rift you must apologize (repent). Perhaps some of you are thinking the bible says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. You are correct! Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38 & 39). To be loved by someone does not mean that we receive everything we want from them. For example, my wife and I got into a semi-heated argument about a month ago. Obviously I’m the man, so it was my fault, but that’s besides the point. After the argument, I walked towards her for a hug, and I was denied. I went for a kiss, and, yet again, was denied. Then I told her, “I love you,” and she responded with “I love you too.” She didn’t give me a hug. She didn’t give me a kiss. She did, however, console me with her words. After hearing “I love you too” I couldn’t help but to think she loves me even though I made a mistake. She loves me even though I was clearly in the wrong. She isn’t giving me what I want, but she still loves me. It’s no different with God. He may not give you the house you want. He may not give you the car you want, but He will always be there to love you. He will always be there for you. If you sin, it may cause a separation, and you may notice a lack in your life, but that doesn’t mean God no longer loves you. He has shown just how much he loves you by giving his son for you. Don’t base God’s love for you on what he gives, or fails to give. Base his love for you on his grace, peace, and forgiveness in your life.
If you feel like God has gone silent in your life, try tuning your ear to his voice. Repent from whatever you must repent from. Close the rift in your relationship with God. Let your life prove that you are a child of God, and live in the love, grace, peace, and blessings of God. Don’t blame God for your troubles. Trust in him through it all, because he is with you through it all.