““Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.”
Joel 2:12-13 NASB
A life of faith is a journey, through each day, filled with decisions that affect the nature and quality of ones relationship with the living God. The good thing is that, while we may ebb and flow with our faithfulness, our God will not. He can’t love us any more or any less than He did when we said yes to His gift of grace. I am thankful for that.
My journey has had its ups and downs, and they have been seasons where I have walked by sight and not by faith. Usually when I have had struggles, it is due to my placing my attention on things and circumstances that draw me away. In those moments, I feel adrift, on waves of emotion, lacking the stability to see clearly and act in ways that glorify God.
The passage above touches me, as I turn from the circumstance toward the Lord. It is not merely the physical act of moving back to God. When I look back, I can remember many times that I have nary missed a session of church. I filled my pew, did the things that appeared fine, but my heart was absent. I was going through the motions.
Even my moments of confession and repentance were more rote than real. It was if I was rending my garments, but having no real change inside. God’s refinement of me has brought great change to the way that I approach Him. As my physical capacities have waned, my approach to God has deepened. No longer do I approach the throne of God, with obligation, but love and complete devotion. He has taken away the superficial. I don’t have the strength for it.
My heart is rent asunder, as my sin is contrast with God’s holiness. In the aftermath of failure, I remember that Jesus went to the cross to pay for my sin. I mourn. One innocent, paid for my guilt.
When I have returned, I rejoice. I am shown His grace, His lovingkindness, His graciousness and His willingness to restore me to the joy of my salvation. In that love, my desire to run from sin is heightened, and I desire nothing to come between me and my Lord.
I look forward to my intimate moments with God; those moments when He visits me and brings that joy that is so dear. All the struggle and all my striving is swept aside, and I find myself simply abiding.
Are you distracted? You can return. Are you stuck in a sin confess cycle that has you bound? Jesus is the bondage breaker. He is waiting! Ask Him to rent your heart anew, that you have the joy you had when you first came to know Him.
There is a promise for those who have not come to know Him too. Turn to Him! He will save you from your sins, and free you from the consequence of eternity in hell.
Consider Jesus today!