Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Gift of Repentance


By: Donna Bucher

A regular practice of repentance belongs foremost in our spiritual walk with the Lord, however, the season of Lent accentuates our need for repentance.

Regrettably, our hearts grow cold, hardened by repetitive sin. Focusing on the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Christ is a stark reminder of our sinful condition.

Lent beckons us to return with our full hearts to the only One able to provide full cleansing.

In its simplicity, Lent is a call to repentance. A proffered invitation from God the Father, bidding us “return”: return with all our hearts. In Joel 2:12-13, we read the full invitation:

"Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."

In this eloquent invitation by Almighty God, we see the components of true repentance: 

Turning to the Lord [from] sin, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 

He further directs us to rend our hearts, not our garments; forsaking an outward “show” of repentance, opting instead for true heart sorrow over sin.

From the passage in Joel, we see God calling His people to authentic repentance demonstrated by fasting, weeping and mourning.

Not a simple 180 degree turn around, but true heart sorrow over their sin. 

In Psalm51:17, David reminds us, the outward “signs” of repentance are not what bring delight to the Lord. It is the broken, contrite condition of our hearts in true, godly grief, not false guilt or shame.

Authentic repentance involves a change of behavior, but that behavior change results from a changed heart.

Too often we grow accustomed to going through the motions of repentance without the accompanying broken heart realization of sin’s ramifications.

We mistakenly view sin as a performance failure, rather than a relational failure involving God.

David gives us the correct view of sin in Psalm 51:4, all sin is against God, the gracious, merciful, and kind Lover of our souls.

Pray for the Gift of Repentance

Authentic repentance is a gift of God. In the same way that salvation is a free gift of God requiring our coming to God seeking it; true repentance requires we come to Him for receipt of it. (2 Timothy 2:25).

Missing this step occasions false repentance rooted in guilt, shame, fear of man and complacency.

Experiencing true repentance occurs when we come to God with no preconceived ideas about our sin. In this way, you open your heart for God to reveal secret and unconfessed sin in need of repentance.

1. Release your list of perceived sins, instead, posturing your heart to hear from God about your sin.

2. Sit quietly meditating on Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

     3. Spend time in quiet prayer of confession for any sins God brings to mind.

     4. Close with a simple prayer of gratitude for God's mercy and forgiveness.


 Jesus reinforces the Father’s desire that we come to Him in John 6:37, by reassuring us that whoever comes to Him He will not cast out. 

We can make no objection, no sin is too heinous, no heart too hard. 

He requires nothing from us, He welcomes us to come unto Him, first at conversion and a thousand times afterwards for cleansing.

Praying for the gift of repentance assists us in approaching God as beloved children of a loving Father, rather than hopeless failures never quite able to please a tyrannical God.

Ultimately receiving cleansing, reconciliation, and restoration of the deep fellowship Jesus came to purchase.

Reflection Questions:

What prevents you from a heart set on true repentance today?

What sins are you fearful of confessing?

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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1 comment:

  1. Donna, thank you for reminding us of the importance of repentance. I love all your thoughts, Scriptures, and encouragement here.


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