I know, it's a big church word for a Monday, but my morning devotions led me to Psalm 51 and the great repentance song of King David after his incredibly large and public sins of adultery and then murder to cover it up. And then he repented (this means literally to change your mind/turn around) in grand style.
You know, I don't repent as much as I should...how about you? I mean I talk to God a lot, but honestly don't spend as much time as I need to dealing with the sins in my life and getting right before God. So...I practiced today...repenting...and then challenged my staff to practice....together in our weekly prayer time. It was cool (as in uncomfortable - there's nothing more difficult for a bunch of pastors to admit that they are sinners in front of other pastors they often try and impress...but some dared to be vulnerable and then everyone was - I think we actually bore one another's burdens today - but that's not my point). I want to challenge you to truly learn how to repent - just follow David's lead (read the following with your Bible open to Psalm 51).
1. Seek God's mercy! Realize that God hates sin (I mean really hates it) and you are approaching Him seeking him to act in a way you don't deserve. If you take this lightly you aren't repenting - God have mercy.
2. Own your sin. "I know my sin...my transgressions are always before me". A repent prayer is not, "Lord forgive all my sins, help me change." That's too anemic. Own what you do that is wrong in God's eyes: lust, selfishness, laziness, gluttony, drunkeness, prayerlessness, gossip, etc.... Own the sin you are repenting of by being specific. If you don't articulate what it is, you are not being honest with yourself.
3. Realize who you have offended. "against you and you only have I sinned" - the offended party in all of our sins is only God. It hurts him deeply. Understand that the sin you own has hurt the heart of God...deal with that - and confess it.
4. Ask Him to change you..."search me, cleanse me, create in me a pure heart". There is no confession of sin that God accepts unless you really want to be changed/made different. And He is the only one who can do that (see I John 1:9).
5. Ask Him to use the grace and forgiveness you receive from Him to proclaim his goodness to others. The goal of grace is for you to tell others who need to repent that God forgives and so we "lead the multitudes in the assembly".
6. Change inside, not outside (the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and contrite heart). There is no faking out God. He sees the real you, so when you repent, don't put on some big show, just bring your broken heart before God. it's like a bull on the altar to Him.
So there you have it for a tame Monday blog...go ahead Repent...I dare ya.