We have a guest speaker, John Franklin, at my home church speaking on prayer and revival through the month of May. It’s been more than a blessing so far. It’s been challenging and life-changing for me.
The first week, John talked about where we are as a nation. All evidence indicates that we are under the judgment of God. This week, he talked about how God’s people should respond.
John pointed out that certain modes of thinking and behaving can cause us not to hear or respond to God correctly. So, from time to time you and I need to have our circumstances and our perspectives altered in order for these modes to be broken. Only then, will our relationship with God become dynamic and we become vessels useful for His service.
I thought about the ruts I get into that have me chasing my tail around and around in circles. One rut I find myself in most is being too “busy.” Sometimes I’m so busy that I lose my perspective on life and ministry. I end up spinning my wheels instead of accomplishing the will of God in my life. But I can’t seem to break-out of the rut no matter how hard I try. I know what I need to do—what behavior I need to change—so I make my promises to God accordingly. For a few days, I find relief. But then, after a short period of time, I find myself back in the same old rut.
I know better really. I know that I can’t change my behavior or my perspective no matter how hard I try. That’s God’s job. Only the One who has created us can re-create us. And He’s the only one who can get us out of a rut—so no need trying to pull yourself up by the bootstraps.
According to Mr. Franklin, the first thing you and I need to recognize is how our ruts not only steal our peace and joy; distract us from being effective, give us a false perception, and keep us from hearing God, but they can lead to sin. Not always. But even if they don’t lead to sin, they are not good for us. They can sap our time, energy, and witness. “So how do we break-out of a rut?” John asked? I sat on the edge of my seat anticipating the answer. “We must repent.”
“Repent!” I thought to myself. “That can’t be it. I try to confess my sins daily, and I’m still stuck in a rut.” As I tuned back in, John was defining the word repentance. “It’s a process over time of requiring energy to acquire God’s perspective of my sin until I see it as He does.” In simpler terms, to “confess” means to agree with God about my sin. Hummm…it’s not until I see my sin as God sees it that I truly “get it.” Get what, you ask? Get how it breaks the heart of God who has been nothing but good, loving, kind, and gracious to you and me. In other words, until I come to the point of grief and am sickened by my sin, I will not turn away from it. I’ll only return time and again.
That’s only the first step toward repentance, my friend. There are a few more steps to take before we become passionate about our relationship with God again and become clean vessels He can use—perhaps to bring about revival—not only in our own hearts but in the heart of America.