Thursday, November 6, 2014

Repentance: Wrong Directions and About-Turns

It can be a difficult thing to start over again. 

It can be hard to pick up where you left off. Especially if you left off a long time ago. The longer you're away it seems you'll never go back. It is like you've closed a door and you're walking down the street. The farther you get down the street, you've committed to the direction that you are going and it is harder to turn around. But what if you're walking and then you realize that you're going in the wrong direction? Do you stop and say, "I've already walked so far, it's pointless to go back"? Not likely! No matter how far you've gone, you have to turn around and walk the other way or else you will never arrive at your destination.

“If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” - C.S. Lewis

When I picked up this blog some years ago, God was gracious to me and blessed my efforts, but I had some doubts as to whether I was doing a good thing. Was I writing for God's glory or for my own? I couldn't answer that question; I honestly did not know. So I took a break from writing. But that break became a hiatus which grew and grew as I left off writing for longer and longer periods of time. What had happened was that I had closed the door on this blog--God hadn't; I had--and I was walking farther and farther down the street of that decision, and while some time away from it was necessary, I actually spent too much time away because my attitude changed from not knowing whether I was glorifying God to realizing that I was glorifying God and then instead of diving right in, I mourned the time that I had been away.

I had made a perfect blogging record an idol, and I was telling God that I would not continue writing because I didn't have that perfect record. I had months--years--of inactivity, and it bugged me. I was walking in the wrong direction, and instead of turning and walking back the other way I was looking at how far I had gone and pouting.  I needed to actually start walking in the right direction.

That's what repentance is. A 180-degree turn. Realizing that we are headed in the wrong direction, stopping, turning around, and then starting to go in the right direction. And it is so difficult that we can only accomplish it by the grace of God.

By God's grace He showed me my sin--that I was headed in the wrong direction, destined for Hell--and by God's grace He made me a new creation and set me on the path of righteousness in Christ.  By God's grace I stand before Him a forgiven sinner, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and by God's grace I labor--not to be saved, for only the work of Christ is sufficient for salvation--but because I am saved. Yet, not I, but Christ who works in me.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. - 1 Corinthians 15:10, NKJV

By the grace of God I am taking up this blog anew, after a long time away, asking God for help to forget what lies behind and press on towards what lies ahead, and eagerly anticipating all that He will do for His name's sake!

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:12-14, NKJV

Soli Deo Gloria. 

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