Wednesday, January 1, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 12

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 12, January 1, 2014
Readings: Psalm 11, Genesis 12, Genesis 13:1, 1 Chronicles 12, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 8:1-3

A repentant heart. Not something that our society discusses much. In fact, in my experience, I can't say I've heard the word repentance used outside of the Church. There is plenty of talk, and arguments, and chatter surrounding topics such as tolerance, acceptance, co-existence, but there is very little talk about repentance.

I think this is because repentance has a rider attached to it - one that people aren't very ready to accept. And that is humility. Tolerance/acceptance/co-existence has basically been accepted as not bashing somebody's opinions. Live and let live. Agree to disagree. Something like that.

Repentance is admitting wrong, and a wrong that has hurt someone else. Repentance is pledging to change. Not only owning up to past mistakes, but committing to change future actions. As a Christian, God asks me to live a certain way. The best way - His way. He is the God of the universe, after all. And it is not up to me to pick and choose what I like and don't like. It my responsibility to obey.

But I'm not perfect - and no one else is either. We make mistakes. We live lifestyles of sin before we bow before Jesus, and we certainly sin after we have committed to him as well. Christianity is not a call to be perfect, it is a call to surrender to God, knowing His way is better. Repenting when we choose not to follow Him. Jesus demonstrates this very clearly as he ministers to some big "sinners" of his day:

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher."

"A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which one of them will love him more?"  

Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, You have judged rightly." Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven - for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." (Luke 7:36-47)

This woman understands repentance. Simon does not. She knows that she has done wrong, and she is weeping at Jesus' feet. Simon is relying on his good to outweigh his bad - he is proud of himself and his righteous accomplishments. What Jesus makes clear in his story is that both owe a debt. Yes, the woman who is weeping at his feet is the one who owes 500 denarii. But Simon is also a debtor - and he is not repentant.

I am a debtor, forgiven and free. Jesus' love, his sacrifice, paid my debt. The message of this story is that we are all in need of a repentant heart. Our debt to pay is all the same. A life is owed for the sins we commit, whether ten sins or ten million.

A repentant heart is grateful for the debt forgiveness. A repentant heart understands the depth of the grace given to us. A repentant heart has no pride in accomplishments, or quantity of good deeds, or lack of sins. A repentant heart understands the need that we have for Jesus, and weeps at his feet for the grace he has extended. I want to start this year, and continue this year, and every year, with a repentant heart.


Kari Patterson said...

Just discovered this series---LOVE IT!!! Woohoo! Way to go. I love your insights. All of this is great, and I say yes and amen. Love you!

Kari Patterson said...

The "I love you" part was for Elisha! Sorry, I got confused. I will love your insights, but I mostly love your wife!