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Godly Repentance

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11/7/2016


 

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For godly sorrow produces repentance [leading] to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. [2 Corinthians 7:10; NKJV]

I was going to title this piece, “Scab Removal”, but it seemed a bit harsh. I find it odd that when I talk to God, I am encouraged to speak plainly in an almost blunt fashion (after all, He already knows my heart), but when I write I naturally try to sugar it up. Please forgive me, I’m usually honest and ‘gloves off’ with God when I pray.

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Last night I got up to pray at 1:11 am. I must confess I didn’t feel particularly spiritual at that time, rather I felt more duty-bound to re-connect with God through prayer.

We’re in the process of relocating several states away, and the “tyranny of the urgent” has dominated my mind for far too long. So this morning I pulled myself up from my half deflated air mattress and stumbled onto the only piece of furniture we’re using in the apartment, a cheap folding chair! Under those circumstances, it’s improbable a scintillating spiritual experience is in the offing, but I misjudged.

With election day tomorrow, I began by asking God’s mercy on our country…that much was a logical slam-dunk, but my prayers began to morph onto the topic of repentance. I began thinking of the coming revival we’ve been praying for, and I realized that repentance historically has led the way to revival, but then my prayers began to be Spirit led, and I knew they did not originate with me.

I believe God has prayer assignments he doles out to His servants – if only they will accept the task and obey. I began to experience a divine irony as I had begun so empty, and began to become so filled with His presence! I love it when that happens!!

And as I prayed about the repentance that would be a logical prerequisite of revival, God gave me a picture in my mind of a man (either an individual or representative of a church body) walking towards a wall. I could see that the man was about a body length away from the wall, and I could see God about a body length on the other side of the wall. As the man repented of his sinful actions and attitudes, he moved closer to the wall in his effort to become closer to God, but soon he ran into the wall and could go no farther, and God was still five feet away. It was at this impasse that God showed me the man could go no farther – in his own effort, and from this point on, any progress would have to originate from God.

In my above reference verse, notice the kind of ‘sorrow’ that is mentioned – ‘godly sorrow’. And this godly sorrow is vastly different from man’s sorrow. Man’s sorrow can take us up to the wall in my vision, but no farther….godly sorrow leads to godly repentance, and because it originates from the heart of God Himself, the wall is no longer an obstacle. This is the kind of repentance we need to trigger revival. Only this kind of repentance can take us up to and into the very heart of God.

Using churches in place of the man in my vision, the same phenomenon occurs. Some congregations move closer to the wall that separates than other congregations, but unless they begin to receive from God, and share in His sorrow, they never will be able to receive the sin-destroying power of godly repentance. Consequently, they will continually bounce off the wall again and again, while never making any real progress in their quest for more of God’s presence. They too, have gone as far as they can go on their own.

As I realized the implications of what I had been shown, I pictured a moth flirting with a flame. Like a moth, if we dodge the flame of God’s Holy Spirit and cling to doing it on our own, we will in effect, cling to our sins, whether we want to or not. Only as we purpose to fly into the flame will the true dross of our souls be purged and purified. Enduring, indeed seeking, the awful pain of the flame, is the only way to acquire the sorrow of and from God, and the only way to enter into true, God-given repentance as we share in His sorrow.

Early this morning, God told me, “You’ve gone as far as you can go on your own. Are you willing to ask me to share in My sorrow? Are you willing to enter into true Godly repentance – the repentance that can only come to you from my Spirit?”

How’s that for a question in the middle of the night?!

John


Viewpoints expressed herein are of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted or linked therein, and do not necessarily represent those of TCP News

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