When we truly repent, in godly sorrow, we turn from our sin and back toward Him. God really does want us on our knees or on our face at the foot of the cross!
In the scriptures, there are some examples of both true and false repentance. Let’s look at a few.
Remember when King Saul apologized to Samuel for not obeying God?
We read in 1 Samuel 15:24-29 that Saul’s apology was far from brokenness – and he only apologized to Samuel. That is an example of false repentance. The result was devastating! Saul lost his kingdom!
Earlier in scripture, Esau had acted similarly, as later pointed out by the writer of Hebrews…
For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. Hebrews 12:17
If you recall, Judas tried to give the 30 pieces of silver back to the Jewish leaders – but he lacked one thing: true repentance. Did he weep and fall on his face, broken before Christ? No. Instead, he hanged himself.
Ah – we do so need the true repentance demonstrated by King David when he wrote Psalm 51. I urge you to read that beautiful example of prayer, while on his face before the Lord.
While Jesus was being held captive and questioned, Peter denied his Lord three times! What did Peter do when he realized his terrible sin? Brokenly, he went out and wept. It must have been true repentance, for later, when Jesus confronted Peter and put him to the test, Peter said, 3 times, “I love you, Lord.” And you know the rest of the story, how powerfully God used Peter! “Feed My Sheep.” And He did.
God expects us to humble ourselves before Him. He expects every person to humble himself before Him and obey Him. But many people decide against what they think of as demeaning, groveling before the Creator. Of course, the truth is – we should consider ourselves nothing when faced with the undefinable majesty of God. If we are so arrogant as to use our “claim to self-esteem” to lift ourselves to a higher position than dirt in His eyes, we face eternal ruin. Think of this: David asked the Living God, “what is man that You are mindful of him?” Indeed. Why would He ever even think of us? Yes, we must be worms before He can turn us into butterflies. That calls for true humility.
We have seen the result of failure to humble ourselves before Him.
But when we do humble ourselves before God, He will always lift us up and save us!
Now is the time to choose!
As Joshua challenged the people of Israel to choose, whom they would serve, God is challenging us, this minute.
There are many people who come to God only when things go wrong. At that time, they may realize that their lifestyle does not agree with their Creator and therefore feel the need to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness. But such request for forgiveness is only conditional. They do this in order to look good at that moment, while begging God for help with their current problem, not to change their life completely and stop putting their own interests first. They haven’t given their heart to God. There was no true repentance here – only selfish motivation.
God is not a plumber who answers our call only when the pipes are leaking. We were not created for our pleasure. We were created for Him! If we are Christian, then we belong to Christ – no longer can we serve the big “ME”. He is our Creator, our Father and our head. We must obey Him in all ways and not just when things go wrong. Let us set our minds toward this truth…
And he said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 AKJV
Today, let’s choose! Let us stop living for ourselves and truly follow Jesus! Let’s begin to pray for a humble heart. Let’s ask for a broken heart that kneels before the Cross!
Let us trade in our false repentance for true repentance!
May God give you revelation to understand this message.