Repentance; July 6, 2019

Deuteronomy 30:6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

This chapter as a whole is talking about repentance, and that is something that never goes out of date. The phraseology in this verse gives us pause, because circumcision isn’t something we normally talk about. It is a particularly foreign concept in Japan, so the Japanese for this verse renders it as “cut off the skin that wraps your heart.” I don’t think Moses was talking about the pericardium! What he was talking about is the accretion of all sorts of things that come between us and God, things that grab our attention and make us insensitive to Him. Getting rid of such things might logically seem like a good thing, but it requires a choice on our part to “return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today.” (Deuteronomy 30:2) That is repentance. We are all too used to regretting what we have done without actually returning to God to do things His way, instead of our own. One of the saddest songs in the catalog is My Way, made famous by Frank Sinatra. What is most tragic about it is that it is a song of pride, as though ignoring God were something admirable. That song is, sadly enough, very popular among Japanese, but then, very few of them have faith in a personal God who cares what they do and guides them in His best way. We all have such trouble getting it through our minds and hearts that God really does love us, and that because of that love He has given us rules to get the very best out of our time on this earth, not to mention set us on the path to eternity with Him. We may pay that lip service, but our actions all too often betray the fact that we don’t really believe it. We have to get rid of our My Way attitude and return to God in all humility, to receive the incredible blessings that He has prepared for us.

Of course, this applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I have done plenty that required repentance! I had the huge advantage of being raised in a home where God was loved and His Word was read and honored, so I knew well about the blessings of following Him, but I still fell into foolish pride, thinking I had the answers and ignoring God. By His amazing grace He gave me an opportunity to see the state of my own heart and repent, and I did. It’s been a long road since then, and not without stumbles, but I have an assurance of salvation that is more valuable than everything in the world put together. I live each day with my Lord, fully aware of my own weaknesses but increasingly aware of His strength, delighting to be used by Him and looking forward to when nothing at all will get between me and Him, as I rejoice before His throne.

Father, thank You indeed for Your truly amazing grace. Thank You for the day yesterday, and especially for the good response I felt as I invited people to our evangelistic event Sunday afternoon. I pray that those people would follow through and not only come, but be touched by Your presence and be hungry and thirsty for more, leading to their repentance and faith for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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