Repentance

Luke 7:36-50

Most of us haven’t enjoyed quarantine, but we have enjoyed receiving our stimulus checks in the mail. However, that stimulus check won’t do you any good if you don’t take it to the bank and deposit it. So much potential wasted if you don’t make the choice to put it to good use. (Yes, I know that some people got their stimulus via direct deposit but please quiet down that doesn’t fit with my analogy). What if you have a $1,200 debt from a pair of designer pajamas you bought for the stay at home order, and you receive a $1,200 stimulus check that you don’t even take the time to cash? Or what if you receive the check and promptly rip it up and throw it in the trash. Seems a little silly, doesn’t it?

Last week we talked about debt and the fact that God has sent His Son to pay off our debt. Why do some people receive Jesus & salvation, and some people “rip it up and throw it in the trash”? Why is it so difficult to let someone pay the price for our sins? Well, pride for one–but mostly because of this thing called repentance. Repentance is the process that we go through to “accept the check”–aka, accept Jesus’ death on the cross as a payment for our sins. And, repentance sucks because we have to admit to ourselves, our peers, and our God, that we have sinned and fallen short, that we are not good enough, that we are sinners, and that we are in need of a savior. Our shortcomings are not often something we are proud of, or want to make public–in repentance, this is necessary.

How do we go about repentance? C.S. Lewis explains in his Mere Christianity that fallen mankind “is a rebel who must lay down his [or her] arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, and saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor–that is the only way out of our ‘hole.’” Why is repentance hard? “It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death.”

So if repentance is really this difficult, why does anyone do it at all? (Maybe my debt isn’t looking so bad anyway…) Although repentance may be hard work, it’s the testimony of people who have already repented that make you curious. They share their newfound freedom, security, and joy! You start to wonder, maybe this repentance stuff is worth a try?

In Luke 7, Jesus explains how it is the people who are rescued from the greatest amount of sin who are the most thankful for the freedom of repentance. No matter how deep a hole you have dug, Christ wants to help you in your process of repentance and give you the freedom only found in loyalty to Him.

CHALLENGE


Are you curious about others’ post-repentance joy? Curious enough to try it out yourself?
Do you feel trapped by a specific sin? 
Who can support you in your process of repentance? It is not something you have to go through alone!
Are you currently benefiting from the freedom of repentance? Tell someone about it! Support someone in their journey!

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

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Posted in Devotionals