"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20
Translate Hester's Blog
Friday, November 19, 2010
THE FRUIT OF REPENTANCE
Matthew 3:8 "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
Thank you for taking the time to give great feedback after last weeks post. It is a blessing to hear how the Lord is working in your lives and which devotion topics hit home the most. Your lives have encouraged me.
My friend Beth Ladd sent me a response I would like to share with you. Beth is a delightful woman who is grounded in Truth. Her response was insightful. I will piggy back off last week and make this part two. If you haven't yet read last weeks post please take a moment to do so in order to understand the context. Enjoy!
"Hester, I thought of another application from your flood experience. When something goes wrong it takes a lot longer to clean up the mess than we think . . .Sin impacts in a ripple effect, and not just the primary recipients. From the floor of the laundry, to the carpet, to the towels becoming mops, to the multitude of hands needed for clean-up, so goes the spiritual analogy of what the Bible calls the fruit of repentance. When we make repairs to the relationships we damage because of our sin, we need to remember that the mess we made takes a lot longer to clean up than it did to make it!! In addition, the ripple effect of sin is much broader than ground zero.
Many in our culture today short circuit the process of true repentance and forgiveness because they want immediate cures and are blind to the layers of impact on many more people than they are willing to admit. The carnality of our culture has calloused us to the damage of sin in our lives. When our washers overflow with damaging selfishness. . . we sweep in under the rug instead of turning towels into mops and get down on our knees and work until the fruit of repentance is complete. Jesus calls it the log and speck syndrome."
Isn't this true friends? We often neglect to realize the effect our sin has on others. Our culture tells us, Hey, it's no big deal.This is so minor. Don't worry about it. Thus begins the process of justification and tolerance. We would like to think our sin only affects us and that we can somehow keep it private. We forget that the fruit of our sin often damages our relationship with others and with God.
Achan's sin caused 36 of Israel's men to be destroyed by the Amorites. Ultimately, his sin cost him his life and his family's life. (Joshua 7)
King David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by putting her husband Uriah on the front lines of battle. After being confronted by Nathan he confessed. David and his family suffered the consequences of his sin (2 Samuel 11 & 12). Psalm 51 records his lament and repentance.
Korah and his men sinned by creating a rebellion against Moses and by treating the Lord with contempt. Their sin cost them their lives when the earth opened and swallowed them, their households and their possessions. (Numbers 16)
When Peter recognized his sin he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75)
Because our sin does affect others we must not give in to the urge to ignore this fact. We must be willing to take responsibility for our part and seek to be reconciled to others when warranted.
Without recognition of our sin repentance won't occur. If we don't think we've done anything wrong we won't see a need for change. Being disgusted enough with our sin and recognizing it as rebellion against God will prompt us to make things right with Him and with others.
Repentance is vital because when we realize the seriousness of our sin we will seek restoration. The fruit of repentance is a changed heart. As our verse for today points out we want to "produce fruit in keeping with repentance." (Matt. 3:8)
Forgiveness is equally important. Forgiveness brings healing from God by restoring our relationship with Him. Seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt is also healing because it begins the process of restoration between individuals.
Being willing to repair the damage our sin has caused is a mark of maturity. As our washers overflow with damaging sin, as Beth said, instead of sweeping it under the rug, may we get on our knees and work until the fruit of repentance is complete.
*Beth Ladd is the founder and director of "Be Still Retreats". If you would like more informations regarding BSR please visit her website:http://www.bestillretreat.com/
Ask God to reveal the damage your sin has caused to those around you. Recognize your sin for what it is. Repent. Seek restoration of those it has affected.
Is there a relationship in need of mending in your life? How has your sin caused damage to the relationship?
Is there someone you need to forgive who has sinned against you?
Heart Changing Word:
1 Corinthians 5:6 (NLT) "Don't you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?"
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NIV) "Yet now I am happy, because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
Luke 17:4 "If your brother sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent', forgive him."
Luke 24:47 "Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations."
Acts 26:20 "I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."
Psalm 38:18 "I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.