Thursday, May 22, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 153: Redeeming Repentance

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 153, May 22, 2014
Readings: Proverbs 1:8-19, Deuteronomy 3, Jonah 3, 2 Timothy 2

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish."
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3:6-10)

This is true repentance.

The people of Nineveh, right up to the king, gave up their very lives to beseech God for mercy. Fasting from food and drink in the hope that God would forgive them and spare their lives. They knew that they could not live long without food and water. But they also, in that moment, knew the fear of God. What good is it to eat and drink if God himself is planning your destruction?

But instead of ignoring him, instead of tossing him aside, they repented. They laid themselves bare, forsaking life-giving food and water in hopes that the Giver of life would relent. That he would spare them. And spare them he did.

So often I want repentance to just be a few words - a hasty prayer, choosing not to do one wrong thing one time. But repentance is heart change. Repentance is casting everything else aside and throwing ourselves at the feet of Jesus, begging for mercy from the only One who can save us.

Gracefully, he does not demand our lives. Gracefully, we are forgiven through his saving work at the cross. How will we respond to that grace? Will we forsake our very lives in repentance? Or will we carelessly cast God aside in pursuit of our own pleasures? 

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