Looking for Repentance
Joe Clark ~~ May 18, 2004

So, I was talking with someone recently about, well, about quite a few things, but to some degree the conversation began with God's love, and how extravagant (if unwarranted) that love is, and how so many don't really understand what God's love is at all. From there we talked about the sin that so easily entangles, and talked about how Christians don't always stand up for what they say they believe in. These thoughts made me stop to reconsider what drives me in relation to God and me and God's love and sin and repentance.

To help in this search, I looked through my past wise thoughts to see if I could find one that sorta matched my mood. I didn't look in depth, but I was a little surprised to find that I couldn't find any wise thoughts that seemed related. I was looking for something that addressed a particular thought or series of thoughts, but didn't find one, so here it is.

I have this potential problem in my life that I ignore everything. Now, not really everything, but a lot of the stuff that really matters. I on one hand think that I'm fairly hard on myself. Even though I don't always live up to it, I strive to make the most of my time, keep my priorities straight, do what's right -- all that stuff. But, on the other hand, do I really even pay attention to the fact that lots of times I *don't* live up to it? Do I ignore my failures to live up to even my own standards, let alone God's? So I was looking for a wise thought that discussed my at-least-occasional failures to live up to the standard, or a wise thought discussing a true sense of repentance. I found a bunch about complaining about the world, some about complaining about specific things, some about celebrating God's creation..but not really any about repentance in a personal sense.

So where is it? Where is my sense of repentance? Am I really okay and all right and on track? Or am I just ignoring the areas that I should be focusing on to improve (with God's help, etc). I really don't know. People can tell me that I'm nice, or that I'm not, or that I am hard-working, or that I'm not, or that I'm loving, or that I'm not, or that I'm messy or that I'm not. Those are good opinions and good input, but they are not God's input. What does God think of me? How closely should I pick apart my life in line with God's Word? I dunno. And if I say I don't know, is that because I really don't, or because I'm not willing to look because of what I might find? Yeah, probably that. If the alcoholic likes his beer but wants to quit what should he do? I'm not an alcoholic (don't even drink), but if I like my lifestyle more or less and don't want to have to change what should I do?

Well, the answer is to suck it up and just repent (or at least analyze the need for it). Or the answer is pray and ask God for a heart of repentance. Or pray and ask God to reveal whether you need to repent. Or something like that. Will I do it? Past experience makes it doubtful. I guess I change gradually over time, but is that good enough? I guess that God imparts his grace and knowledge to me day by day, but is my filter so clogged by --whatever -- that only like 5% of that knowledge actually gets through at a time? I dunno. But I guess what I do know is that it's worth taking more time to consider than I allow for it. So, self, think about these things, not just in passing for 3 seconds or in a wise thought once every 25 years, but spend some real soul-searching time. Easy to say, I know....