Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Change Of Heart and Soul

   Repentance has such a powerful impact on a Christian’s life that it changes the heart and frees the soul. God is pleased when you take responsibility for your wrongs and reconcile with Him. When you make restitution to God, your faith grows stronger, and the vision of His Will becomes clearer.  

   Repentance unlocks the door to a hardened heart and humility is the starting point of softening the soul. When you repent, the spiritual nourishment God provides is soothing, refreshing and freeing. God’s cleansing of the conscience purifies the heart and draws you closer to Christ.

  The main ingredients that lead to a change of heart are acceptance, confession, and action. Those three indispensable Christian principles are the backbone of a deeper experience of God’s merciful forgiveness. When you practice them separately, the results are good, but by applying them together the rewards of Christ are phenomenal. 

What does acceptance have to do with repentance?  

   Well, without accepting our wrongs the door to redemption remains closed. We need the key that fits, and it comes in the form of acceptance. Without being aware of our misconduct with Christ, the blindness to our sin stills has a grip on our heart. Sin thrives in darkness and by acknowledging them the light of Christ begins to shine.

   Once you identify your infraction, then, the next step is admitting to yourself the disobedience. Identification and admission leads to acceptance and brings to the surface a need to resolve the pains of sinning. Now that you have those facts in place, then it becomes difficult to deny them and the urgency in moving forward with the process of repenting emerges.

   Acceptance is only the beginning of a meaningful and purposeful repentance because it is not enough in showing Christ our desire to stay on the road to eternal life. Stopping at this phase of repenting cuts us off from God’s grace because there is no action involved in only knowing our rebellious behavior. We have to go further and demonstrate to the Messiah that we mean business in adhering to His commands. 

Why is confession needed to change the heart and soul?

   There are two distinct ways God commands us in confessing our sins. First, we have to go before God and humbly voice our failure in living righteously. Even though the Lord already knows we are wrong, it is our responsibility to express it to Him. Being silent with God is a lonely and isolated apartness that robs us from His mercy.

   As the result of sharing your inequities, Christ will direct you on how to make amends to God. All you have to do is express your desire to make right the wrong and be receptive to the way the Lord directs you in changing your disobedience.

   Secondly, we need to let someone else know the trespasses we have committed. In the Epistle of James (5:16) the importance of revealing our transgressions to others is clearly defined. This keen and active demonstration of honesty with our neighbors is a powerful Christian characteristic firmly centered in Christ and radiates the essence of integrity.

   Revealing my darkest secrets to another person seemed pointless. If God already knew them then why should I tell someone else? In my experience with Christ, I discovered being obedient to His instructions takes putting my faith into action and trusting His divine wisdom. In other words, I had to stop questioning it and just do it.

   The first time I sat down face to face with someone else and confessed my sins, a peace came over me, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was prevalent. There were some trespasses so shameful that I thought would go to the grave with me, but when I was honest with them with somebody, I felt God’s grace enter my heart. The guilt inside of me evaporated away, and I had a deeper connection with God. I am glad I did this, and I now make confession a regular part of my Christian life.

  Maybe your experience with confession is different than mine. God has a specific plan for each of us and our involvement with Christ is not quite the same. However, we are assured by Christ that if we follow His commands we will be healed.   

What are the actions needed in repenting?

   Once you have confessed your sins, then the time has come to begin acting differently. Christ will provide you the strength and courage to change, but you have to do your part by making an effort to apply the action. Your personal exertion will pay huge dividends because Christ always takes care of those who are willing.

   Here is an example of how action has helped me in repenting. Resentments plagued me. My emotional sensitivity was at a level that just about anything would set me off into an angry frenzy. I harbored grudges and held onto them for extended periods of time. 

   When I confessed to God and another person my unloving nature, then I had to do something about it. I could no longer live with my conscience, and the only way out of that turmoil was to start behaving in a loving and kind way. As I began putting forth the effort in demonstrating a friendly attitude a new way of embracing Christ entered my life. That came in the form of compassion and today I am learning ways to spread it around.

   I have only shared one way where action in repentance has made a change in my heart and soul. The same has held true in the other ways I needed to come in line with God’s righteousness. There is so much Christ has to offer, and I try my best in remaining faithful to receive it. I am grateful to be a part of a greater whole.

   Repentance is where we can make the right with God what we have done wrong. If Christ was so willing to die on the cross for the remission of our sins, then, there are no excuses for us not to repent. All of us need the proper preparations for eternal life and by amending our brokenness with God we are on the right track.

 Today’s Question: What does repentance mean to you?