Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"1 (Lyrics)
Revelation 3:19b – Be earnest, and repent. (NIV)
One Sunday morning, I left home having my destination clearly in mind. It was an easy trip, so I used the time to enjoy lovely music and relax — until suddenly, I realized that I was heading the wrong direction — to my old stomping ground. Somehow, I had failed to take a turn and didn't notice. Once I had calmed down and stopped kicking myself, I took a U-turn and re-routed my course. Thankfully, I ended up where I belonged, or else some gathered worshippers would have been minus a preacher that morning. Instead, they got a fresh, real-life illustration for repentance: the U-turn. Undoubtedly, this was a God-planned episode.
Traditional worship services include a segment for expressing confession and assurance of pardon. But what about the U-turn, the repentance, the intent to change, turn, and face a new direction? Without U-turns, we'll just keep going in the wrong direction, and we'll never make it to our intended destination.
Acts 3:19 – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (NIV)
Thankfully, U-turns are built into God's program for us. We'll not see any "No U-Turn" signs along the way, but neither might we have seen ourselves going off course. After all, we didn't deliberately or consciously take a wrong turn. It just happened, somehow. Perhaps, we contentedly drifted along with life's blessings. Perhaps, we floated with the tides of cultural shifts. Perhaps, worries pulled us off course. Perhaps, we got sucked into the vortex of media hysteria or the godless aspirations for civilization. Perhaps, we never really did know the way. We've never truly turned toward God for salvation.
It's said that people don't change unless it hurts more to stay the same. No wonder life's trials are so effective in changing us. They are like divine roadblocks. We can't go anywhere — until God shows the better way. And then, we redirect our route — with deliberate earnestness.
Revelation 3:19 – Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. (NIV)
Of course, all this talk about U-turns is of little good unless we know where we're actually going. Otherwise, we just keep making little U-turns. We change some habits or try something new to make things better. But we'll keep driving around the block, not knowing where we are supposed to end up!
God's grand destiny for us individually and for His church is far grander than mere behaviour change. He wants us to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God, to surrender ourselves to Him, and to obey Him as Lord of our life. Let us desire and seek the repentant way with all our hearts!
Matthew 6:33a – Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. (NIV)
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, we trust You to direct and re-direct our course through life that we may remain near You — for our well-being and for Your glory. Amen.