Tag Archives: repentance

The Life-Giving Season of Lent: Giving More of Ourselves to Christ

The season of Lent consists of the forty days (minus Sundays) before Resurrection Sunday. Lent is a time of examining our hearts toward God, and of fasting or abstaining from something in order to give more of ourselves to Christ. The days of Lent also remind us of the time in which Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and was tempted by the devil.

Examining Our Hearts

Giving God more of ourselves should always be part of our relationship with Him; however, Lent is an ideal time to examine our hearts regarding our pursuit of God. One way to do this is through the Examen Prayer, which can be used as a daily guide either as you begin or end your day.

We can also begin by asking ourselves a few of the questions below, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance in answering them. These questions can include:

  • Am I putting God first in my life, or simply trying to fit Him in?
  • Is there anything in my life that is or has the potential to distract me from God and living for Him?
  • Is there anything in my life that has a hold on me other than or above God and His will?

As we face the truth of our hearts and repent where necessary, we experience greater life in God. In the next section, you’ll find some helpful thoughts related to the last two questions. Continue reading

Unless…

At church our interim pastor shared from the letter to the church at Ephesus:

“…I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.
(Revelation 2:4-5)

My heart is heavy yet hopeful, knowing God will have His way with or without us. I can’t truly say what I’m feeling today is of me, because I too need God to change me tremendously, and think I could actually be feeling God’s own grief over us as a church! (I’m personally asking God to give me His heart and passion, and to continually show me my part in His purposes.)

This fall I had a vision in which I saw God touchdown on our church, and something like two shockwaves rushed out from it. One wave went out around the church itself, and the second went out through our city.

I feel God has said this is what He wants, but that this won’t be unless we humble ourselves and repent, fervently praying and seeking His face. This feels imminent!

If it doesn’t come I feel God is saying to us in even His indescribable grace and mercy:

“I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.”
(Revelation 2:5)

Faith Not Feeling & Other Thoughts

I think so often we search for feelings & experiences, forgetting that the truth of God’s Word needs to never be neglected. We can only gain the knowledge & discernment we need through studying His Word, not basing our relationship with God too greatly on feelings or experiences. Our own feelings cannot be trusted–they change faster than the weather at times & are often the result of missed perceptions of people, situations & experiences.

Truth can rarely be known based solely on our feelings. We must continue to be in His Word, being sanctified by Him & surrendering to His will each day so that we can share the Good News & God’s truth with those who do not know Him. Then we can share the Gospel while truly being examples of how God is changing & growing us to be more Christ-like, & also grow in discernment as we study His Word.

We should be being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2), not giving only to get more, chasing after every feel-good speaker or anointing we hear about to gain artificial highs, or refusing to change from our pre-salvation selves thinking it doesn’t truly matter since we’ve been forgiven (see Romans 6). How can we be witnesses by our lives to the Gospel & how the truth of His Word renews our minds if we do not continually put off our old selves & actually renew our minds (Ephesians 4:21-32 & Colossians 3:1-10)?

Nonbelievers will see & hear us, but not care a bit when we share the Gospel if our lives look just like theirs. Instead they might say, “Well, I must be fine like I am because these Christians aren’t any different from before they became Christians.” If we are without joy and love, how will they want anything to do with what we have?

We should ache to share His love — because WOW! How He so loves us to have died for our sins — but a big part of being in a right relationship with Jesus Christ is making Him our Lord & Savior:  We must wholeheartedly repent of our sins in order to do so.

In turn, a desire should grow in us to do what God requires of us to grow this relationship through His Word & doing our part as He makes us more like Christ, also being obedient to share the Gospel with those we encounter in our lives as God leads us.

Something I heard spoken about recently was calling ourselves Christians & yet not living this label:

Christian. That’s our name — a word which has root in CHRIST. Instead let us change ourselves as we deliberately strive to become more like Christ Jesus, Who gave His life for us. Let us grow closer to God through studying His Word, & grow greater in love & unity each day of our lives on this earth, seeking to be witnesses for Christ in all of ourselves — word, deed, mind, heart, soul & strength.