It is Mine

There it sits…

right in front of me.

I know what it is–I have seen it before.

I know whose it is–it declares its owner like some haughty personalized plate.

There it sits…

The fruit of my prayers…the wakeful nights spent praying for conviction.  The early mornings tirelessly imploring for a confession.  The sentinel preoccupation of waiting for a sign of repentance.

And now there it sits…

All mine to claim.

Like so many times before, I’ve slipped and fallen back into sin.

I’ve cluttered my thoughts with libraries of judgment.

I’ve crowded my heart with hate, depositing offenses like a frenzied shopper collecting bargains at a clearance sale.

I’ve worn another’s weakness as my own folly.

Like so many times before, I alone stand guilty.

Next to my guilt, sits another truth…

the basin containing the water of forgiveness.

The cut of conviction has been bathed in its mercies before.

Each dip into its warmth and comfort soothes my grief and awakens my poisoned thoughts and heart to live again the life they have been called to live.

There it sits…

My forgiveness.  It is mine.

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me to hear joy and gladness., let the bones which You have broken rejoice…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain with a willing spirit…Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, that my tongue may declare your praise”  Psalm 51:7-15.

Where is repentance?

“This is why preaching that neglects to mention sin is not true peaching and why ‘experience’ of God that does not leave the worshiper with a profound sense of his or her own sinfulness and an even greater sense of the love of God is no true experience.  It is why we live in an age whose religious ‘health’ is an illusion.  Today we have preachers, well-known, highly successful preachers, who refuse to mention sin in their teaching–not because it is difficult to do or because they have trouble doing it, but because, in their judgment, people do not need to hear about such subjects.  They believe people feel bad enough as it is.  They need rather be affirmed.  Affirmed?  People today hardly feel the weight of sin at all.  Nothing they do is ever considered sinful.  Will you maintain that such persons know God and are saved by God even if they make no profession of it?”  (James Montgomery-Boice, Christ’s Call to Discipleship, 1986)

I hear a lot about revival these days, but very little about repentance.  This would make sense if it were plain to all that the Church was walking as the holy people of God…if I was walking in holiness.  But far too often the people of God are like those described in Mark, chapter 4.  We hear the word that is given to make us holy and to draw us into the depths of God’s greatness and goodness, “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful(Mark 4:19).

An unrepentant life is an unfruitful one.  If the Word is not confronting us with sin, challenging us with a greater vision of God, and compelling us to deeper devotion we will never be that ‘seed’ that “hears the word, accepts it and produces a crop–thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown”  (Mark 4:20).

Forgive me, Lord.