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But Repentance for Christians Too?

Random thoughts this morning.

I will always preach sonship as our identity. And likewise, I will always preach repentance for sons/daughters. Allow me to explain.

A child, even an adult one, has love, authority, complete acceptance and identity within their family – but if they’ve done something wrong, there still needs to be a turning away from that wrong mindset and a realignment to the hearts of their parents. A reestablishment of connection and that pure flow of intimacy that may have been tainted briefly by their wrongdoing. A hardness may also build up on the heart because of the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). Repentance breaks off all of this.

I remember when I was a busy girl in High School and I was asked by my parents to not go anywhere or have any friends over for the weekend, mostly so I could have a good rest. I agreed to my Mom’s request, but then sent a sneaky email to a few female friends telling them to just “pop in” on Saturday, knowing that my Mom would never turn them away if they just showed up unannounced. In my haste to be sneaky, I didn’t realise that I actually emailed them from HER email account, and not my own. When she approached me about what she found in her emails, she didn’t scream at me. She didn’t deny me as her daughter or cut me out of her will or kick me out of the house or tell me that I no longer carried my Dad’s name. But I saw the hurt in her eyes, and immediately I felt a “disconnect” from that pure flow of intimacy and friendship that we had before the email was sent. When I tried to defend myself, I only made the distance - and her pain - worse. So, I had to grab ahold of my emotions, say I was sorry, and humbly “repent” by turning my heart back towards her and away from my own selfish desire to see my friends. When they showed up at the door, I turned them away and apologized to them for putting them in the middle of my silly decision. I chose to trust that my mother knew what was BEST for me….and yes, I definitely needed a rest that weekend!

This “repentance” reestablished connection with my Mom, allowed me the rest I so desperately needed, and actually brought me closer to her that day as we laughed through stupid 80’s movies. The only thing she said that stung my heart were words that actually pulled me up, and reminded me who I actually was. My heart was stung in a cleansing and beautiful way because it was washing out the gunk left by the lies that I had believed. She was probably quite disappointed in me (as a human), but she didn’t hold a grudge and never even brought it up to me again. Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

If the intimacy was reestablished with my mother in this way, just imagine what repentance does with our Heavenly Father, who knows all things and who is closer than even our parents! 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In both Deuteronomy as well as Hebrews, God says that He will never leave us or forsake us. Romans 8:38-39 talks about how NOTHING can separate us from the love of God (and there is a great list to read, if you’re in doubt). Even the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 proves that He loves us even in our wrongdoing, and longs for that intimacy to be reestablished.

As a mature Christian who actually teaches and preaches sonship and identity, I have had moments of “wrongdoing,” in which I believed a lie and chose to separate myself from intimacy through choosing sin over being led by His Spirit. And you know what? The distance I feel from my Father if this happens is nearly unbearable. He alone is my reason for existence. As Acts says, it’s in HIM that I “live and move and have my being” (17:28). And yet, He never leaves my side. Nothing I do can separate Him from me, although I can indeed separate myself from Him through sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13). The moment I realign with His heart, I am not only freed from the yucky residue of the sin, but I am stronger than ever in knowing who I am and that I never, EVER, want to feel that separation from His friendship again.

Repentance, for someone who is born-again, is necessary to keep the intimacy and friendship that we have with God healthy. Because of the nature of the Father, we actually NEED His love and approval when we’ve messed up. His presence reminds us who we are, the future He has for us, and it empowers us to break off the shame and guilt and turn our messes into redemptive messages for others.

Friend, if you need to reestablish intimacy with Him, do so today. You haven’t been cut off by the Father, and He actually longs to remind you who you truly are. Repentance melts the hardness that can grow upon our hearts through that yuck, deceitful sin. “Wrongdoing” and sin is not who you are by the way – you are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), your old nature is dead and gone (Galatians 2:20 and 2 Peter 1:4), and you are indeed a child of God (Galatians 3:26; Romans 8:14; Galatians 4:7; John 1:12-13). Turn your eyes back to the Father, and allow Him to wash over you with His approval. Ephesians 2:6 says that you are seated with Christ in heavenly places, so you don’t have very far to go 😊

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