It’s easy to forget what the whole of Christian life is really about. We are so prone to make much of ourselves, and to pursue our own comfort and happiness. This fits in so well with the American Dream and western consumerism that we barely notice it when we see it. Yet, in his ninety-five theses, Martin Luther began by saying that “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ…willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
Every day in the life of the Christian is supposed to be one of repenting of sin. Repenting of making much of ourselves instead of the glory of Christ and our Father in Heaven. Leaning on the Holy Spirit, who is with us daily, to teach, guide, and correct us so that we might see when we have made much of ourselves instead of making much of King Jesus. Repenting of pursuing worldly comfort and happiness instead of laying our lives down for the sake of true joy in Him.
Yet, we all have periods in our lives when we stop listening to the Holy Spirit and start relying on our own sin-infected conscience. We stop trusting God and start leaning on our own understanding of what is right and wrong, what is fair and unjust, and what we should have to give up for the glory of God. Sometimes this happens when life becomes too busy and we slowly fail to keep up with Bible study and prayer, and other times it happens because we willfully block God out for some reason or another.
Both of these people have the same hope of coming back to repentance: the power of the gospel.
It is the power of the gospel that first awakens the hearts of men and women to salvation (Rom. 1:16-17). It is the gospel that breaks through the hardness of the unregenerate heart and causes it to see the beauty of King Jesus, and it is the gospel that softens the hearts of those who believe in Christ and confess Him as Lord and Savior to become more like Him.
So, these times of unrepentance, these times of walking in our own darkened understanding and living for our own comfort at the expense of real joy. These times of making much of ourselves instead of King Jesus are really about needing to be re-gospelled. It’s about needing to slow down and let the gospel ruin you like seeing God ruined Isaiah. It’s about needing to come to the end of ourselves so that we will come back to desperately relying on God’s grace, mercy, wisdom, and strength.
And we serve a good God who is gracious enough to lead us to the end of ourselves, and then show us the hope of the gospel all over again. The same God who breathes life into the unregenerate also gives fresh air to the unrepentant.
May our hearts be more tuned to His, and may they break for what really breaks His. May we really live lives of repentance, and pursue our joy in Him at all cost.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus. Maranatha.