Wednesday, October 31, 2012
There is both a strength and dignity God bestowed on mankind: volition.
Within each human heart is the divine gift of choice.
God made himself vulnerable to us in this bestowal. Freedom to accept but also freedom to reject. Listen to his aching cry as He calls out to Adam and Eve after their betrayal, "What is this you have done?" What choice and turning away would cost the Father, His only son. The broken, destructive way now set in motion. What a tragic course our hearts would now transverse down with the path of death at play.
And yet, it is with that same dignity of choice that the way made back to him was given, the free gift of Christ. The free gift of a way back to life. A way back to intimacy. A way back to union.
The ability to choose.
The incredible gift of r e p e n t a n c e. Initial repentance of turning our minds towards God but also ongoing repentance choosing the way of life.
That word, repentance, can conjure up images of attempts to "get it right," trying to convince yourself and others that you will change, fire and brimstone "do this or else" Christianity.
The false "it's up to me," self-improvement gospel.
R e p e n t a n c e instead is simply turning your thoughts back towards God. Going from fleshly, self-satisfaction on your terms living to Spirit-filled, surrender to God on his terms. Meeting his loving, caring, compassionate eyes of grace. Trusting him.
The ability to repent is a continual freedom given. How vulnerable and gracious of God to never force us to be a certain way or do a certain thing, rather giving us divine dignity to choose the path we will go. It is this very kindness that leads us to repentance.
Sure the old man's ways still vies for the old life, it's what he knows, but now in Christ the old guy is dead and the new way, life restored with God is made possible. "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:19). Christ has overcome! That work is now at work in us. And the more we release the patterns of the old man into this new life, the more he rules and leads and allows us the great joy of a life shared. True, abundant, beautiful l i f e in Him.
And when the power of this ongoing repentant life goes forward, hearts are awakened back to life. Forgiveness is given. Relationships are restored. Creation sings as the garden slowly begins to bloom again-- l i f e as it was intended.