Todays Reading: Luke 18
This is Lynden; it is a privilege to be writing again this week. The Spirit has led me to reexamine the concept of repentance. In Luke 18, we are given a beautiful, yet hard illustration of true repentance.
Luke 18: 9-14
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
How many times have we found ourselves as the Pharisee? I know that I have probably several times this past week. It is not malevolent in the intention, but we do look at others and make criticisms about their situation or condition. Sometimes we try to help them out or voice our concerns on them but fail to see how God will work in their life. I have been convicted to constantly look inside myself and reanalyze what purpose does God have for me in this situation. I pray constantly to be an instrument in God’s purpose.
Growing up in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, I had the belief of repentance as something that is done once and you are not ever suppose to change or revert. When you have this idea you start to question your own progress and outlook. You feel that if you fall or “back slide” you cannot get back to the “right” place. You feel that God is going to judge you different and the marks against you will keep adding up. I have new hope and a new growth as I have matured in my Christian journey.
A few reference verses that have ministered to me are:
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Repentance is a constant and dynamic change that allows you to grow in Christ. Repentance is the knowledge that you are not where you are supposes to be, but making the changes and to get to your destination. I realize, I have grown into the Tax Collector, I am forever asking God to have mercy on me and I am not worthy for His blessings.
In writing this post I had an epiphany, the main people that were part of the “Twelve” are fishermen. The main tool that a fisherman uses is the boat. If you have ever had any experience using a sailboat or canoe, you know that you cannot go from point A to point B in a single “straight” line. You plot a course then you sail for awhile, then you realign yourself and course correct and then sail a little bit more, and then you course correct again then you repeat. Finally you arrive at your destination. If you were able to map out your traveled course you would find that you had a zigzag pattern over the water, but you are at the planned final destination. It is awesome how God uses the fisherman as an example for repentance; they knew that to get across the water you have to make constant corrections (repentance) to make it to the final destination. As it is state in the text, you cannot change once, or seven times, but as many as it takes to make it to the final destination.
Heavenly Father, continue to guide us on our journey. We will fall and drift off course, please me merciful to us as we are all sinners and need guidance daily. Amen