Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Confession, Repentance, Renewal and Blessing

We should not expect the Lord’s favor for blessing without confession, repentance and renewal. This is not something that we can gin up on our own. The Spirit must move in our midst. Granted, the desire for confession and repentance often comes from the powerful word of God. God sends us prophecies in His Word or by the message of a preacher or a friend who speaks the word of God to us. If we are in rebellion and sin, this prophecy helps us begin to see that God’s ways are not our ways.  This word from God, this prophecy, often reveals to us why we are languishing in sin rather than flourishing in blessing.
         But the Word delivered is not enough to return us to blessing, Even confession, by itself, will not get us to God’s blessing. Israel must put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth. When we make idols, images in our minds, of gods that we serve and that serve us, then we are not serving the One and only true God.
         False idols may not be like these ancient idols, images of wood and stone that represent local deities. They might be images of saviors that we have exalted above Yahweh. In our nation, we are erecting such images. The federal government is working hard to replace Jesus. Citizens everywhere are looking to the state to fulfill all their earthly desires. This is a leftist response of godlessness. Many of those on the right look to the prosperity of the free market, pure capitalism and the accumulation of wealth. Certainly, for them, there is salvation in riches. Many Christians are dismayed, not knowing which set of idols to honor.
         But we must reject both the leftist gods and the libertarian, Ayn Randian gods. Only Yahweh is our salvation. Only Jesus is Lord of our nation. Only Jesus is the hope for our future.
         We can also make images of those most important to us and allow those images to compete with God for preeminence. But Jesus says that you must love Him more than father and mother, sister or brother, son or daughter. If we learn to love 'in Christ', this means that we give God the right kind and the right amount of glory. In truth, we can only love properly if we love God more than everything and everyone else.
         If we put anything or anybody on the same level or above our love for God, we will fail to love Him properly AND we will fail in our love for our beloved. We must not love others for their own sakes. If we do this, we will not love them for what is best for them. Only if we love them in Jesus, according to His standards, will our love for them redound to God’s glory, their benefit and our blessing.

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