Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 3, 2016
By Tripp Prince.
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
In America we recently wrapped up award season, with the world tuning in to see which film or musical production topped the charts this year. As I observed the nominees for film of the year, I was struck by how several of these films were entirely based on significant and at times unspeakable human failures. Issues of human rights violations, greed and corruption, and abuse and cover-up were all on display for the world to see. And when we see or hear about these types of stories, I think it is our temptation to say, “at least I’m not like that!”
We must never justify our sin and brokenness by comparing it to the failure of others. Yet this is a great temptation in each of our hearts, and it was a temptation in Jesus’ own day. In Luke 13, we see Jesus addressing two well-known scenes in which people’s sins were put on great public display. On the one hand, Jesus speaks of murder and impure sacrifices. On the other, he speaks of eighteen people who were killed in the tower of Siloam. These are “extreme” stories. Stories that would make the evening news for their shock value alone! And yet, with both of these, Jesus says to his followers, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3).
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to point out the failings of others? It doesn’t take long for us to think of ways to encourage growth in the lives of our spouse, family, or friends. In fact, it’s much easier to focus on what they need to change than it is to examine our own hearts and look for ways that we can grow in our faith.
In the Bible, “repentance” is a central theme. We see where both the people of God and individuals are frequently invited to repent and turn away from the sin that keeps them away from life with God. Repentance literally means “to change one’s mind,” but it’s much more than a mental shift. It’s more than feeling bad about our brokenness.
True repentance always requires action. We must allow the sorrow we feel over our sin to lead us to reformed behavior and a changed way of life. This is the fruit of genuine, Spirit-led repentance. And here’s the hardest part: you can never repent on behalf of someone else! You aren’t responsible for their sins and shortcomings, or the ways they may have wronged you. You can only take responsibility for your own actions and your own heart. So if you are tempted to either point out the failings of others, or to justify yourself in light of them, pause and remember Jesus words, “unless you repent.”
Genuine repentance is the command upon each and every one of our lives. Do the hard work of repentance and self-examination today, and as you are honest with the Lord about your brokenness and need, encounter afresh his grace, forgiveness, and perfect love.
Prayer: Father, give us the courage and humility to be honest about our own sin and brokenness, and as we return to you in repentance would you fill us afresh and conform us to the likeness of your Son.
Application: How can you change your circumstances by focusing on your own repentance rather than the failings of others?
Related Readings: Isaiah 1:27; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 4:17; Acts 8:22
Post/Tweet this today: We must allow the sorrow we feel over our sin to lead us to repentance and a changed way of life. #WisdomHunters #repentance
Worship Video: 8 minutes – Housefires II: Come to the River
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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