December 11, 2014

Interacting with Christmas: Repentance

Good Thursday to you!  Isn't it remarkable how quickly the weeks go by, especially in the last month of the year?  Today has sneaked up on me, despite having a topic in mind for today's post since Saturday.

How are you doing?  Are you embracing the holy joy of the Christmas season, worshiping the Lord with gladness for His gift to you in Christ?

Let me tell you something, last week I was not.  I was a bear, a big, growling, grumpy grizzly of a bear.  I mentioned last week that I was feeling defeated by my sin and that was stealing my joy.  But to be honest, I wasn't just feeling defeated by my sin, I was wading around in it and refusing to get out of its septic waters.  Consequently, I was unpleasant to be around because all I could do was complain and command.  I was 100% focused on my discontent and lack of control over every. little. detail.

For example, I had had cleaning up this room on my to do list for weeks.  But I never seemed to be able to get to it and I really didn't want to have to deal with it.  This room became a metaphor for my week:

There is much talk nowadays of being thankful and using gratitude to transform your attitude.  I agree with much of these encouragements and know the transformation such a practice can bring.  But I also think expressing thanks can be too temporary a solution.  Last week I needed to do more than look around and say to myself, Look at all you have to be thankful for, Heather.  I was walking in the foolishness of unrepentance.  I needed to confess my sins and be forgiven.  I needed to repent and believe the good news of the Gospel!

Like that room, I was a mess.
The mess needed to be addressed!

Saturday morning I sat down for my quiet time feeling as heavy laden as each of the previous days of the week, but this time I felt the Spirit say to my heart, Heather, just say you're sorry.  Confess your sin and be free.

Wowzers, what a difference that made!  Of course God knew all along that I was wading around in foolishness when I could have been running around in freedom.  In those moments I finally saw that I had been acting toward God all week the way that my two-year-old acts at her worst: demanding, whiny, and  ungrateful.  To say it in the word that I recorded in my journal: bratty.

After a few paragraphs of confession, my burden was lifted.  I was able to pray sincerely for others, what with my eyes pulled away from my own navel and all!  And I asked the Lord for a verse to take with me into the day.  Here it is, image taken from here:

The word that caught my eye?  LET!  LET the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

I had been doing no such thing.  I had been letting - allowing, permitting - all things contrary to the Gospel rule in my heart, when the PEACE OF CHRIST had a rightful place there.  I needed to LET GO of those things, be forgiven, and then LET THE PEACE OF CHRIST RULE IN MY HEART.

Allowing anything else to rule in my heart is a disaster.  Allowing anything else to rule in your heart is a disaster, too.  Child of God, let the peace of Christ rule in your heart today.  God deals with the mess of the other stuff we let rule there by the blood of that very Christ.

O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

You know what else happened on Saturday?

With a heart set free, my hands were set free!  Hearts that are set free are those that know forgiveness.  The Lord makes the way to forgiveness.  The chasm between us was was too wide to be bridged by good deeds or pedigree, but not too wide for the arms of Love with hands pierced for our transgressions.  Those arms entered the world on the first Christmas as angels announced the news to shepherds and a star caught the eye of learned men.

Do you know Him?
John the Baptist said of him, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Have you turned to Him in repentance and received eternal life?
For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Will you let His peace rule in your heart this Christmas? 

Repent and believe the Good News!

Merry Christmas, friends!