ON HIS SHOULDERS
“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:5
Repentance is changing your thinking, beliefs and life-direction back to God. This allows God to transform your entire life and destiny. This is repentance: when you consent to be saved, when you consent to be loved, when you consent to be carried by His arms of strength, when you consent to be carried by the arms of His love. Repentance requires the humility to let God love you, let God “do” for you and through you. Repentance is fully apprehending grace, through intimacy.
All of us inherited a pre-disposition to living independently from God. We have been discipled by the world in feasting from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which might be called the tree of independence and self-righteousness. This tree kills. Indeed, self-righteousness, rooted in pride, is the mother of all sin. Remember, there are still two trees in the garden.
Repentance is turning away from playing god and turning back to the true God, feeding from the tree of intimacy and dependence, the tree of life – Jesus.
But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abrahamstory. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point.” (Romans 4:1-3 MSG)
Repentance is not striving and wailing in false humility before the altar. Yes, there is godly sorrow – but repentance is consenting, turning round, yielding to grace. All other religions say “DO DO DO!” Jesus says: “DONE DONE DONE!”
Repentance is eyes off ourselves and onto Jesus, eyes off our story, our works and onto His finished work at Calvary. St Paul writes, “To this end I also labour, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). In other words, our striving is always accomplished in His grace and mighty power. When our boast is no longer in what we can do, but what Jesus has done, there the divine exchange is activated.
So, repentance is entering into what God wants to do for us. Bono put it like this: “Don’t ask God to bless what you are doing. Find out what God is blessing and join in.” Repentance is turning from legalistic, orphan-hearted exhaustion to childlike trust, grace and rest. Repentance is being carried over His shoulders like a lost sheep, found like a precious coin, run toward, embraced, kissed, clothed in the best and letting the Father bless and celebrate you. Have you entered the party that is the Father’s house (Luke 15)? Or are you refusing to leave the fields of self righteousness, legalism and quiet bitterness? You’d be amazed at how hard our unworthiness and self-righteousness dies. Let the Father love you today. Consent to being His “beloved”, let him bless you as the “blessed.” That’s repentance – right believing, which leads to right living.