Going back the other way

This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff.

ENCOUNTER:  Read Mark 1: 14,15

"The time has come", he said.  "The kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news!"

As we studied this passage together on Sunday morning, I was struck by how many people were able to articulate clear definitions of the word "Repent."  It seems that we've heard it before and the idea resonates with us from our common human experience as it relates to being a Jesus-follower:  "I consistently veer off the track and need to stop, turn around, and go back the other way."


I asked the question on Sunday:  What is that you are currently repenting of?  (Excuse the poor grammar.)  This isn't intended to be crass or over-dramatic in any way.  It is really just a succinct way of reminding us and calling us to be people who are constantly on the journey of becoming more and more closely following Jesus.  We don't get it right all the time...  Not even close.  And so we need to be "repenting" people.  People who ask the question, and then stop, turn around, and go back the other way.  There is much more about repentance and how it relates to the Kingdom of God and the Good News in the sermon from Sunday, but for today, permit me to suggest a spiritual practice.  Find a few quiet moments to reflect, invite the Holy Spirit to talk with you, and ask him, "Where am I falling short, or running from you, or going the wrong way, God?"  And as very specific things come to mind you can confess them as sin, thank him for his grace and forgiveness, and talk with him about how you can go back the other way.  Let me encourage you to get honest and get practical.


One of the things you may hear from God might relate to how you have hurt someone, or withheld love from someone.  Or, similarly, you may recognize some profoundly selfish attitudes or behavior in yourself.  A great way to move toward transformation and healing is to repent of our self-centeredness by stepping out to love and serve someone.  Whether we reach out to love someone we have sinned against, or neglected, or any human, really, we put the sin of selfishness in a headlock when we step out to be a blessing to another.  In light of what you are repenting of, who might that be for you today?


Do you have a group of people with whom you are spiritually honest and intimate?  James 5:16 says that when we confess our sins to each other and pray for each other, healing comes!  What a great promise!  I know it feels like torture, when we are first considering the idea of being THAT honest with other brothers or sisters, but the freedom and healing that comes as a result is nothing short of glorious.  It is continually our prayer that you are pursing these kinds of relationships.  Is there a friend you can call today with whom you can take the next step in relating on a deeper level, even talking about repentance?


“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16