“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways..."
In recent times and even in the distant past, God has been dealing with me concerning some very important issues in my life. And while He expressed His counsel very clearly on these issues, I didn’t respond to Him in the manner in which I ought to. Though I understood what He was saying accurately, I reacted rather inappropriately. Let me attempt to paint a very vivid picture here. There was a time when the Holy Spirit was very critical of my work ethic. He made it very clear that it is unlike the culture of heaven for a man to be sloppy and lazy in his affairs. And I was hit heavily by those words.
Now, what did I do in response? I paced around my room, began to string together a powerful sermon in my head and envisioned how blessed the people of God would be by such mighty words. So, in all this enthusiastic display, I successfully missed out on what God originally intended when He spoke to me. I would later come to realize my shortcomings, but only after much suffering as a result of the absence of the right response to God’s word. In all these experiences, one big question has remained prominent on my heart. How is it that when it pertains to certain issues, God finds it so difficult to reach some of us who spend so much time in His presence? And the Holy Spirit gave me a very simple answer to this. The Church today is highly unskilled in the art of genuine repentance.
Why Can’t God Just Look Away?
I must admit it; our generation is blessed with so many fine preachers and teachers. Technology has even made it easier for us to have access to God’s grace in their ministries. But either consciously or otherwise, some of them are teaching us wrongly. We are being told that as saints and redeemed people of God, the only time we ever needed to repentance and confession of sins was at salvation. But these are the doctrines that are damaging us as a people and teaching us to glory in our sins. It is not only the sinner that is in need of the gospel of grace but the saint likewise. And the very first word of the gospel as proclaimed by Jesus Himself declares, “Repent!”
Repent, turn away from your old ways, go and sin no more. There is no sweeter smelling aroma that can ascend to heaven than these.
No form of sacrifice, no grand theologies nor philosophies, no acts of rugged faith can move God if there’s no true repentance. Can we just stop all this jamboree and for once do what God demands of us?
When we ask God to look away on account of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we question His wisdom. Even wise men know that the only way to maintain a healthy relationship is to communicate vocally with one another in times of offense. And this is what repentance is all about. We say to God, “Lord, I’m sorry. I turn back from this path I am on. And I choose yours. Because I am certain that Your way is the only way that leads to good success.” This is difficult. Just like between two men, it hurts our ego and crushes our “spiritual arrogance” to admit to God that we’ve been wrong the whole way. It is devastating to know that as a mature believer, it is demanded of you to say the same prayer as that fellow who has no knowledge of God whatsoever.
Will This Repentance Be Worth It?
But I have never known anything more worth the while. Or do you forget God’s words in 1 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”? That, most definitely, is repentance. All the experience of God we have ever sought after is on the right side of repentance.
As you contemplate on these words, I just wish to remind you that in the flesh, David wasn’t necessarily a greater king than Saul. Saul refused to kill those whom God had adjudged worthy of death. But David committed murder and adultery all in one breath. In fact, David almost destroyed his legacy by causing the death of 70,000 of his subjects through his error. However, repentance is the reason why one is called the man after God’s heart today. I cannot say specifically what God is dealing with in your heart at this moment, you know better. But remember that maybe, just maybe, all you need is repentance. No matter what it will take from you, please yield to God’s voice. For the higher the price we pay, the bigger the prize that lies ahead of us.