The past three days have been an agony of repentance, in the best possible way, but this time there was something new in it for me. Normally I am very much in solitude when the Spirit brings chastening and repentance, but this time I had a visit from one of my sisters smack dab in the middle of it. I had no leading to cancel the visit, but I also couldn’t fathom how I was going to even be functional. Part of my Joel 2:12-13 life verse showed the way: “Turn and keep on coming to ME…” What a forceful and welcome reminder that repentance isn’t just about me.
God Leads in Repentance
It’s not hard for me to start off well in repentance and then veer off the path. Repentance isn’t just about getting prostrate before the Lord, though that is a big part of it. Repentance is also about obeying God when He says it’s time to get up off the floor. I knew that it was terrible pride and arrogance, an absolute sin, to remain in agony after God says He’s satisfied, but somehow I never saw so clearly that it is in fact defiant disobedience.
Repentance can never be an excuse for me to disobey the Spirit’s leading. When my sister came, I was wrecked, but that didn’t matter. The Lord wanted to love her and welcome her and speak to her through me. He lifted me off the floor and raised my eyes off of myself and onto Him. And what was He focused on? Not me and my repentance just then. The Lord was on my sister.
My repentance is His to orchestrate in every way! It’s not just a rote process that I follow through by checking out until it’s done. I had started to view repentance very much in that way, as almost a sacred rite that happened in one way and one way only. God had to blow up the box I’d put repentance in – turns out I can truly box anything!
Repentance is About the Lord
This weekend brought fresh revelation of who the Lord is, and a most welcome reminder of my other life verse: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways…” God moves as He will, WHEN He will. To object because He’s doing something new with me just means that I will be outside His will and purpose. In Spirit-led repentance, I see myself as He sees me. So not only is repentance not just about me, it is really entirely about God. What is He showing me? What is my heart motive? When is God satisfied that my heart is clean and changed? What is He saying to me, right now?
The Lord upended my usual process of repentance and gave me a great gift: a glimpse of His heart, and the love He holds there for my sister. I’m so grateful that He busted up my repentance box, because I’d hate to have missed Him when He came.
Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.
Proverbs 9:6 ESV