This Week's Focus: "The Power Of Repentance"
The ultimate power that has ever been given to man may be the ability to repent. It is the grace empowered act of sanity that puts us on a whole new path.
Repentance is such a powerful force because it allows us to enter into a totally different type of relationship with God. It was John the Baptist’s one word message; “Repent!” That very message was picked up by Christ upon John’s death. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” If you harmonize the Gospels, it is very clear that both of the men hanging on either side of Christ were mocking him but one repented. He had a change of mind, a change of heart, followed by a change of behavior or direction. Instead of mocking, he begged for mercy and was given exactly what he ask for as well as a promise of a brand new future.
Manasseh was an ancient King who led the nation of Israel astray and had a rap sheet a hundred miles long of all the things he did to anger a holy God. He led the nation in worshipping false gods as well as offering their children to false gods. He was eventually drug away by army commanders of the Assyrian king who put a hook in his nose and imprisoned him in a foreign land. In 2 Chronicles 33:32-33 (NIV) we read, “IN HIS DISTRESS (emphasis mine) he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.”
Have you ever wondered why it seems that so many times we will only repent when it gets so bad that we have no other option? That is because repentance is a grace empowered change of mind which results in a change of attitude and direction. Your attitude has been called “the aroma of your heart”. If your attitude stinks, there is a remedy. David prayed, “Renew a right spirit within me!” and then continued in his prayer, “Give me a willing spirit to sustain me!” We don’t have to wait to call out to God from self preservation. We can call out to him out of obedience. God says, “Call on me and I will answer you...!” David had grown very hard from his deception with trying to hide his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. So he prayed!
Maybe your heart is hard today. It doesn’t have to stay that way! In James, chapter 4, God makes it very clear, “You have not because you ask not!” Don’t miss out on one of the greatest things God longs to give to you, all because you didn’t ask!! If you have a stubborn spirit, ask him for a willing one! If you have an unrepentant heart, ask him for a repentant one!! If you have a prideful spirit, ask him for a humble, broken spirit. If you will only do what he asks of you, then he will do what you ask of him! He will give you the type of spirit that will please him. Ask God for the type of spirit that is irresistible to Him. David tells us what that is in Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise!”