The Bare Soul - January 23, 2011
Divine Repentance

Isaiah 30:15 - For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. ..."

Do you recall the joy of your salvation? Do you remember when God lifted the burden of sin from your life. How glorious was that day! The sky looked bluer, the grass greener, and no one could dampen your spirit, for your love-struck heart ascended to God with every breath. And the catalyst for this joyous reunion with God was a total abandonment to Him through humility, or to say it biblically, we repented of our past life and received Christ into our hearts. We turned to God with all our heart and the light of His love. In return, He filled us with the joy of His presence (Psalm 16:11). As the weeks, months, and years slipped by, many experienced a different dynamic occurring when humbling oneself over sins committed. Many times there was an unmistakable absence of the closeness of God after we confessed our sin to Him and desired to move back into His presence. I believe this is why believers often get disillusioned with God and their faith, and many backslide and forsake the Almighty. They feel the Lord has let them down -- that somehow they are doing what's expected of them and He is not delivering by filling their heart once again with His joy.

Simply put, if we are not experiencing the closeness of God then there is a problem on the receiving end, not the giving. And, the scripture is clear that those who come to God must come with humility -- that He desires to cleanse us from all unrighteousness as stated in I John 1:7: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. However, verse seven precedes this repentance verse, which is an important lesson of faith that must accompany humility. I John 1:7 tells us ... if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. This scripture implies that the "Light" is critical to fullness of relationship with our Lord. We may love walking in the light of his love when all is going well, but when we sin, many turn toward the darkness because somehow they feel unworthy to enter His presence with faith and humility. This is precisely what the devil desires -- that we believe God's redemption is conditional regarding how we feel about ourselves rather than what Jesus tells us. Our Lord's promise in Matthew 11:28 is that He will give us rest in His presence. We simply must "come to Him". Our state of coming only requires faith that He will do what He says.

Some might say, this is easier said than done. However, coming to Christ in times of repentance will depend largely on how we come to Him on a daily basis. Are we developing a loving relationship with Him when things are going well? Are we spending time in meditation, gazing into the face of Jesus? Are we spending time in His word and ruminating on His love promises to us? If we will do some simple things to maintain our relationship with Him, then we will not experience our soul withdrawing from Him in false humility. If true contrition is not coupled with faith, then it is sorrow that only leads to darkness and death concerning our relationship with Him. If, however, faith is married with humility and love, knowing that He will never cast us away, then we will come into His presence with confidence that we are forgiven as we bring our sin to the light. Paul states in II Corinthians 7:10: For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. God's will is certainly for us to be sorrowful over our sin. However, His greatest desire and will is that we would appropriate the limitless grace that He provides through the death and resurrection of His Beloved Son.

We should ALWAYS turn toward the light of His love, whether in good times or bad. There is no exception. Only as we practice coming to Him everyday, no matter our state, only then will we possess the faith to come to Him in our greatest trials. Repentance of sin should never be without a joyful conclusion, otherwise it is a false repentance that will merely result in more separation from our Savior. Just as we experienced the lightness of load when we initially came to Him and gave Him our hearts, so should we experience His joy after every failing. We must simply keep "coming to Him" no matter how we might feel. We must turn our affections toward Him and believe that His love is incomprehensible and without measure for His beloved. May we all come continually to His light, trusting His word that He has truly paid the cost for our sorrow by becoming the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) for our sin. He only desires to restore to us the joy of our salvation (Psalm 51:12), if we will but come!

Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of living continually in the light of Your love. Even when we fail, O Lord, You woo us back to the light so that we can once again fellowship in Your love. Help us to know that repentance without joy is a lie from the pit of hell. Keep us continually coming to Your light so that we might experience life abundantly. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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