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Repentance is a Daily Act of Worship

Today I had a thought run through my head as I woke up and was getting ready; when I say it was running through, I mean that it seemed to be taking laps around my head. We have been going through the book of Acts on Sunday Mornings, and the word repentance continues to be proclaimed by Peter and the Apostles. In my own study this morning, after John the Baptizer was arrested, this was the same message that Jesus began to preach. And so, it got me thinking: how often do I need to repent? Is it a one-time act? That was when Scripture began to show itself time and time again.

 

Jesus said:

 

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)


According to Jesus, repentance is an act of daily self-denial and dying to ourselves. Think about the implications of that. We’re to deny ourselves (and if we’re denying ourselves, then we must be turning back toward God), and pick up our crosses, and the cross is an indicator of a slow, cruel death, every day and follow Jesus. That means that we just don’t put our flesh to death swiftly. We bleed it out. We face the agony of its death every day. It hurts to deny ourselves, and why? Because for most of our lives, we’ve lived according to our flesh (our wants, wishes and desires), letting them rule over us and wondering why we were never fulfilled in pursuing ourselves. And if we choose to live for Christ, we’re proclaiming His goodness and mercies, not just in our words, but in this perpetual act of self-denial. It hurts. Hebrews says Jesus not only did this, but suffered in his temptations (Hebrews 2:18) and that He was tempted in every way and yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). We DO suffer in self-denial; Jesus suffered in self-denial! But if we’re unashamed of Him, then we will continue to deny ourselves, like He did, to die to ourselves every day.

 

Paul continues this thought in Romans 12:1-2:


I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Every day, we must die to ourselves, offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. Our true acts of worship are in denying ourselves and picking up our crosses every day and following Jesus. The only way to escape the pattern of this world is by changing our minds, turning toward Christ, denying ourselves, and seeking Him daily. It is the only way we will find peace and wholeness. Otherwise, we will continue to seek after our flesh, hurting ourselves, and living in a state of living death until our bodies wear out, and we are sent away from Christ for all eternity. Worship Christ. Deny yourself, pick up your cross. Repent. Then, find peace, true peace which surpasses all understanding as you trust God with all of the outcomes of your life.

 

Romans 12

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

 

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




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