Skip to main content

A little sway in your steps?

Have you ever stopped to really consider what it means to repent?  If we are to consider it in the most frequently used meaning of this word, most would say it means to stop doing something, but it may not carry the idea of doing something else instead.  When we are wanting to understand something as important as repentance, we must turn to the scriptures to really see how God describes the action.  It means to turn your heart toward your first-love (God himself).  It also carries the idea of "re-dedication".  In the simplest terms, this means we choose to be set apart unto him - devoting ourselves wholly (not just some of our parts) and with an earnestness which expresses both a sincerity and intensity of desire to see ourselves doing something differently in our lives.

Even now, turn back your heart and rededicate yourselves to Me; show Me your repentance by fasting, weeping, and mourning.  Now return to the Eternal, your True God.  You already know He is gracious and compassionate.  He does not anger easily and maintains faithful love. (Joel 2:12-13 VOICE)

When we examine our passage today, repentance involves the heart needing a little redirecting.  That signifies our hearts get a little distracted or off-course.  If we think of the heart as the seat of our emotions, we can easily understand how this can happen, as emotions can become very distracting at times.  When I am having a particularly challenging day, my emotions can range from elation to extremes of disappointment, frustration, and even anger.  They can be all over the place - up, down, here and there.  So, it stands to reason my "heart" can get a little swayed in one direction or another.  When I lived in the bay area we had some very strong winds on occasion.  One particular year, the winds were so strong they had to close the Golden Gate Bridge because of the tremendous amount of sway occurring on this grand suspension bridge leading into San Francisco.  The cars couldn't maintain their "grounding" on the roadway because the bridge was moving so violently with the force of the winds.  I'd like us to think of repentance as that which brings things back to "center" in our hearts - removing the "sway" and giving us "grounding" again to focus as we should and make "safe passage" in our daily choices.

The second thing we come to understand from our passage is this idea of "showing" our re-dedication.  In other words, repentance is more than words.  It is more than asking forgiveness for some offense and then moving on.  There is some action on our part which reveals our commitment to what we are saying we want to do differently.  Whenever I have drifted into some form of "sway" in my life, I know there is going to be some "clean up" activity required.  It stands to reason we cannot just expect things to be perfect just because we ask for forgiveness - the winds may have died down, but every "storm" in life leaves some type of debris to be dealt with!  A couple of things are pointed out - actions which express our determination to turn again to doing what we know to be right and true in our lives AND the willingness to take the steps to "return" to "center" again.  

The most important part of repentance is the assurance we need to have of being accepted into God's welcoming arms, no matter how much we have drifted off-center or how much grounding we have lost in life.  He is gracious and compassionate.  He's not easily angered, and he has maintained (and will always maintain) his intense love for each of us.  The winds of life may have afforded the opportunity to put a little "sway" into our lives, but it doesn't mean we need to lose hope.  The "return to center" is what brings about the re-grounding of our lives.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean