Resolution Vs. Repentance
With the new year, I have been considering how terrible I am at resolving to do any one task. I make up my mind. I point all my internal energy toward it. I exert my will. Yet, in most every case, it seems my will brings a sprint to a cross country race.
The Lord has been kind to me. I keep stumbling on to the idea of repentance.
In the Bible, repentance is mentioned often. The theme is always to our good. If fact, God’s voice and direction seems to follow repentance.
Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. – Proverbs 1:23
For many years I felt the act of repentance was a big one time event I had at the moment of salvation. For me, that moment was dramatic. And there was significant life change. Yet, that buzz wore off within weeks.
As you read through scripture on first glance, the call to repent is seemingly dramatic. A prophet sheds his clothes, covers himself in ashes and stands in the middle of town begging, pleading for life change. Paul is on the road to Damascus. Men fall prostrate before angels. Exclamation points are used.
A call to life change is no light hearted event.
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. – Isaiah 30:15
Yet, as I read through scripture tonight, a came upon a theme. Repenting is not as much about changing behavior as placing one’s heart in the hands of God. In repentance we give up to the Lord. We give in and trust. We simply say, “I can’t, But You can.” The behavior follows the heart. The life change follows the heart change.
Though many scriptures are dramatic one time events, most whisper of a practice of repentance. A turning, submitting, and longing to be made whole again… on repeat, done often. An active engaging with Jesus.
While resolve seems to concern one with self- willing its way to a better life. Repentance is a turning to another for help. Resolve relies on one’s will power. Repentance is firmly grounded in faith, rest and release. So, while the Father gives us a will to act, what if our most significant activity in 2015 is simply to practice repentance? Not in huge, dramatic fashion but in a practice made up of thousands of tiny little acts where we continuously turn to the Lord in small ways asking for help and trusting Him with our lives.
I have a buddy upon realizing he is in error in some small way steps back, takes a deep breath, and asks “Lord help?” It is a quick, quiet prayer. It’s a practiced act of repentance. Very brief, many times whispered under his breath. He has it down to an art form. For him it is rest. Water to the soul. Life. After knowing him for many years, I realize how uninterested he is in shallow, ineffective resolutions. I also understand how interested he is in experiencing more and more of the Lord.
For 2015, “Lord, help!”