28 February 2020
The following sharing by J.I. Packer on the quality of our devotion to God and our pursuit of holiness is so very relevant for believers and the churches today:-
“Repentance nowadays rarely get mentioned in evangelism, nurture, and pastoral care, even among evangelicals and Christian traditionalists. The preoccupations of stirring congregational excitement, sustaining believers through crises, finding and honing gifts and skills, providing interest-based programs, and counselling people with relational problems have displaced it.As a result, the churches themselves, orthodox and heterodox together, lack spiritual reality, and their members are all too often superficial people with no hunger for the deep things of God.
I believe that even as we who are Christians ought to praise God, give Him thanks, and make requests to Him daily, so we ought to repent daily. This discipline is as basic to holiness as any..The further one goes in holy living, the more sin one will find in the attitudes of one’s own heart, needing to be dealt with in this way. As the single-mindedness of our inward devotion is the real index of the quality of our discipleship, so the thoroughness of our daily repentance is the real index of the quality of our devotion. There is no way around that”.
All of us believers must pay great heed to these exhortations. Whether we be leaders in churches, christian groups, or members, the need for thoroughness in our daily repentance before God is as important as our daily disciplines in prayer, study of Scriptures,worship, fellowship and meditation. When we receive feedback that something is amiss in our ministry, our lives, our churches, our evangelism, our activity-centred programs, is our first response one of criticising others as being critical and excusing ourselves and rationalising away the feedback. Remember that thoroughness in repentance means a true openness to the promptings and ministry of the Holy Spirit when He communicates to us, even from quarters we least expected. Do we bow down before the Lord and seek forgiveness and direction from Him to make amends and restitution? We ought to be very conscious that we would have to come before the Lord, at His judgment seat to give an account of our lives and service.
When we studied Daniel 4, for instance, we can see that king Nebuchadnezzar, a non-believer, humbled himself before the Lord of heaven and earth when he was laid low. Do we just focus on how God worked in the life of a heathen king and forget that the Lord may also be speaking to us in our circumstances and ministry?
Our desire for the deep things of God, our hunger to go deeper in holiness – all these are closely associated with the thoroughness of our daily repentance before the almighty. Repentance is a way of life in our pursuit of holiness and our desire to deepen the quality of our devotion to God.