Repentance Home Page — Continued... Barry's Video Blog...
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Something We Must Do!
Make it fun to carry your cross and
die to self —"dying" is the process,
God's presence is the result!
Our Part and God's
Ultimately, it is only God who can make us grow. But, the apostle Paul helps us to keep it in perspective when he said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth." (1 Cor. 3:6). God causes the growth, but we are the ones who need to do the planting and the watering.
You have a vital role in how much you grow in the Lord! It is time to accept more of that responsibility.
God has His part. He makes you grow! But He longs to be able to do that more. Your part is to cooperate with Him by planting the truth in your heart and watering it! This site shows you how.
God will do His part! You can do yours!
(A special note to the reader: Try to remember that repentance and carrying our cross is something we need to do with joy and delight—not misery and groveling. "Dying to self" is not something you should be afraid about. Carrying your cross is reason for joy. This site is for showing you how to help your heart to believe and experience that joy!)
Something We Must Do
Repentance is something that we need to do. The Bible tells us to "repent and turn to God" (Acts 26:20b). It is not something that you should wait for God to do for you.
Jesus told us the most important command in all the Bible is that, "...The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:29-30).
We Christians know we should love God, but it is to us that the Bible says,
Repentance is important for salvation. But repentance is also important for those of us who have already chosen to follow God. We need to repent because we have left our love for God and have fallen in love with our earthly ways.
It is to God’s people that the Bible says, "Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations." (Eze. 14:6). Another place it says, "return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods...from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you..." (1 Sam. 7:3).
Directing your heart toward God should be at the very core of how you live your Christian life. The Lord is our shepherd, but He will allow us to wander if we so choose—even though it hurts Him to do so.
The Bible says to, "...train yourself to be godly" (1 Tim. 4:7 NIV). It tells us to, "...sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts" (1 Pet. 3:15a). It is vital that you take action to direct your desire back to God—and away from earthly sources.
Directing your heart toward God is all about "dying to self." Jesus told us, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27). Repentance and turning to God is not an option. It is because our hearts are so prone to wander that directing our heart toward God must become a natural part of every day.
The apostle Paul wrote of, "always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (2 Cor. 4:10). Repentance is not an end in itself. It is so that the "life of Jesus" can be manifested.
Don’t wait for God to do your repenting for you. God is waiting for us! The Bible says,
The benefits will be great when God’s people—on a broad scale—repent and turn to Him. But since God has told us so clearly that we should be the ones to turn our heart toward Him, you can be confident that the Bible also tells us how. It is time to take action.
Determine to Learn How to Repent
Know this for sure, being effective at repentance requires that you are going to have to learn how to turn toward God in keeping with His grace to draw near to you. Doing so is likely more different from what you are doing now than what you might expect.
Most Christians think about growth as a constant process of bringing their focus back on the Lord and trying to find encouragement through the scriptures. These are good things, but in reality—day after day—we keep trying to stop the things we are doing wrong, we monitor our love for the Lord, how much we are reading the Bible, the quality of our prayer life, the depth of our worship, how much we are sharing our faith, and at times, what can seem like a million other things. While this approach is common, the improvements that result come slowly and are often very frustrating. It can also make you very tired!
On this site I am giving you a way to improve all of the things mentioned above. The difference is that the improvements won’t come about because of direct focus on how well you discipline yourself to do all these different things. The growth that I am talking about here will come about, first and foremost, as a result of a direct focus on improving your capacity for faith and your trust in the Lord.
Rather than growth happening because you monitor and discipline yourself in countless different areas, growth will result because you are applying discipline to maintain your faith, hope, and love toward God. Rather than a discipline out of a sense of duty, it will be a discipline of delight toward God that helps make turning to Him more desirable. Once your momentum begins to build it won’t seem like discipline any more. You actually find rest for your weary soul and it feels like fun.
It is not my intention to multiply the behaviors that you to monitor and maintain in your walk with God. I want to help make you free. So, please don’t take what I give you here and adapt it as a way to grow in the dozens of areas you may be trying to improve at this time. Like a tire with a hole in it, you would just have to keep on pump yourself up—day after day, year after year. I am offering you what I believe is a more effective way to help yourself grow toward God.
No matter what your situation, you should feel hope! It is right for you to think about growth toward God in terms of lasting improvements and change. As a child matures they are never the same again. Even so, there will certainly be times when they will struggle and occasionally seem to go back to the way they were even years prior. But in general, the growth they experience results in changes that last. We need to think about growth toward God as being similar—without hiding from the truth when things aren’t going as well as we would like. The principles in this book are effective enough that—if you decide to apply them—you won’t ever be the same and you won’t ever want to go back.
Am I describing a way to grow spiritually that can happen over-night? No. Even so, by applying the principles you find here, growth that would normally take a life-time can happen in a matter of several months to a few short years.
Determine now that you are going to learn how to repent and turn toward God. You can do it! Determine to make repentance and turning to God work for you. The scriptures show the way.
It is time for us to think more accurately about repentance!
Great misunderstandings about repentance are all through the church today. Few understand the extent to which we must repent. Even fewer understand the biblical principles that would make it effective.
Many think that repentance means they have to make themselves feel guilty until they stop doing bad things. The problem with this view is that after you do that, you have to wait until you have felt "bad" long enough to deserve being close to God again—or, to even let yourself accept His forgiveness. Trying to "repent" this way is ineffective and damages your relationship with God.
Repentance is not a morbid kind of introspection bent on groveling before God and motivating change by self-condemnation. The Bible says, "Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you" (Ezek.18:30b). Rather than create more stumbling blocks your repentance needs to be what removes the obstacles that keep you away from God.
Christians today want to change. They long to be closer to God. But, my observations are that most don’t understand how to repent according to biblical principles that work. The result has been frustration, hopelessness, despair, and shame. Some have even come to believe that it is just not possible for them to be able to experience intense levels of closeness to God. This is wrong. It is my strong intention to help change this.
But, God wants all of you. He is asking to be the one and only God that you depend on. Still, however, don’t get the wrong idea here.
Even though the cost of repentance seems high, the cost is like no price at all in comparison to what you get in return. "Dying to self" isn’t the goal. Life is the goal for here and now! When you repent so as to change from works to grace, you find freedom to receive God's presence and life becomes the result!
The Bible says it this way, "always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (2 Cor. 4:10). Repentance is a process of constantly living out the dying of Jesus. But you also have a clear promise concerning why you should repent. Repentance is "so that" the life of Jesus "may be manifested," here and now. Because of this, repentance can and should be fun.
Life is the goal of repentance, not dying. Carrying our cross is not an end in itself. At first, repentance may feel like you are carrying a cross on a path toward a frightening and horrible death. Before long however, you will come to understand experientially, that dying—while living—is the path to real living. Dying to our earthly ways is merely a means to experiencing times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Once you clearly understand the benefits of repentance, "dying" won’t be a morbid thing at all. You won’t be afraid because repentance will become a great joy—something you have fun doing.
Let me remind again that the Bible says, "repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). Continually carrying your cross is the price you get to pay in trade for God's presence! The Bible says,
"Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David" (Isa. 55:1-3a)
True repentance is about turning to God because of delight to pay the price—not because you punish yourself into trying to do the right thing! On the most practical level, repentance is about changing from the inside out. Repentance is about reassuring your heart with truths that make it desirable—and that give you freedom—to turn to God.
I am praying for the Lord's abundant blessing on your efforts to direct your heart toward Him.
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Repentance Home Page — Continued...
(C) Barry Hall 1999
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