What is Real Repentance?

I am reading a devotional from Ann, a friend and I are doing a study together from the book, Idols of the Heart, our church is participating in a book study calling for revival, Refresh, and I am reading devotions from the Mosaic Bible through this time of Lent.  All are filled with scriptures from God's Word.

What somehow still amazes me is how God makes all things work together.  Everything I am reading is more of how to fully surrender to Him.  How to recognize idols, which is anything we put before Him, anything, and how we are called to repent before a Holy God.  Because any time there is something more important than God...any time our hearts are not centered on Him and we search for what we think we need, we are ignoring the One True God and settling for idols.  This is the reason we disobey Him.  

Elyse Fitzpatrick says, "Only God the Heart Knower is also the Heart Changer."  

The Westminster Larger Catechism asks, "What are the duties required in the first commandment?"

"The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify Him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of Him; believing Him, trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in Him; being zealous for Him; calling upon Him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to Him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please Him, and sorrowful when in anything He is offended; and walking humbly with Him."

Wow!  Do I love Him that way?  Do I really love the God of heaven and earth that way?  How often I have offended Him.  How often have I disobeyed Him?  My disobedience comes from worshiping other gods, maybe not stone statues, but pride, selfishness, false humility...the list goes on.  

Read the requirements above again, slowly pondering each characteristic.  Not out of legalism, not out of an unhealthy fear, but out of an unadulterated love for God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for me, and who died for you.  Is He not worth all we are?  Is He not worth our total surrender?  Focusing my all on Him is what He desires, and He deserves nothing less.

"I wear the lens of the Word and all the world transfigures into the Beauty of Christ." -Ann.  

Do you see everything through His lens?  As I continue to focus on my one word for 2015, focus, I try to bring everything into a clear view from God's Word.  My perspective must change, and, when I fail, I seek repentance.  I need a Repentance Tower, but I would have to live there.  Michael Catt says, "The lack of repentance weakens the believer and the church."  The church is made of sinners; when have I been so broken in repentance to my God as to shed tears for my disobedient, idolatrous heart?  Thomas Manton said, "Holy tears are the sponge of sin."  What an image!  

When have we seen or heard real confession?  When have I sobbed over confessing my sins before my God?  Our world is in dire need of Truth, and where will they see it?  How will they know it?  They will not see it through our agendas, our programs, our schedules, our buildings, or anything else WE can think up.  I believe they will see it when, as Michael says, 
               "Real repentance produces confession, and forsaking of sin, reconciliation and restitution, separation from the world, submission to the lordship of Christ, and the filling of the Holy Spirit."

They will see it when they see Jesus living through us; when they see we are not like this world.  When we stop pulling the world into the church, and start living a life of difference.  A life where Jesus is at the forefront.  

Vance Havner once said, "When I see a bird that looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has webbed feet like a duck, paddles in the water like a duck, and prefers the company of ducks, it is hard for me to resist the conclusion that it must be a duck!...When I see a Christian who looks like the world, talks like the world, walks like the world, goes places where the world goes, and prefers the company of the world, it is hard for me to resist the conclusion that they are of the world."

"Our churches are filled with people who do not have a biblical worldview.  They are gray in areas where the Word is black and white."  God says He will vomit the lukewarm out of His mouth.  We cannot afford to be gray, or lukewarm.  We must be strong, stand for what is good and right and true and pure.  Our nation is in a spiritual, ethical and moral state we have not seen before in our time, and if we do not stand and fight, we will go down in history as a generation that has forsaken God.  

Through this first week of Lent, which for some is a part of their spiritual life and practice, and for others it can prepare our hearts for Easter with a time of reflection, repentance, and prayer.

"The tradition of Lent--a forty-day sacrifice--is one way of mourning the death that sin has caused in our lives.  As we see Jesus perfectly withstand Satan's temptation in the wilderness, we admit our own shortcomings, our own inadequate sacrifices.  This period of  "giving up" has a profound way of recalling our desperate need for Jesus Christ."

So, if you choose to give up something to devote yourself wholeheartedly to God and His Word, I will pray for you.  Whether it be a food, a habit, social media, TV, a place, whatever you choose, only do so with the desire to give yourself totally and unabashedly to Him.  If for any other reason, you will only be setting up another idol.

"All God's plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them."  --E.M. Bounds 

How can I pray for you?

Always Experiencing Him,

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