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Godly Sorrow

Repentance
By Oswald Chambers

 Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation… —2 Corinthians 7:10

 Conviction of sin is best described in the words:
My sins, my sins, my Saviour,
How sad on Thee they fall.

 Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person’s conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not that person’s relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God— “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4). The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying,

“I have sinned.” The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes— a reflex action caused by self-disgust.

 The entrance into the kingdom of God is through the sharp, sudden pains of repentance colliding with man’s respectable “goodness.” Then the Holy Spirit, who produces these struggles, begins the formation of the Son of God in the person’s life (see Galatians 4:19). This new life will reveal itself in conscious repentance followed by unconscious holiness, never the other way around. The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses— repentance is a gift of God…

… If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.

Oswald Chambers was a Scottish preacher and teacher whose ministry took him for a time to the United States and Japan. The last six years of his life were spent as principal of the Bible Training College in London, and as a chaplain to British Commonwealth troops in Egypt during World War l. Chambers died in 1917 at the age of 43 from complications following an appendectomy. After his death, his wife Biddy compiled her handwritten notes of his messages into a number of books, including the popular devotional ‘My Utmost for His Highest’. Learn more of Oswald Chambers at the website My Utmost for His Highest.

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'Happy' New Year

Different cultures celebrate the New Year on different dates. Matariki, the Maori New Year occurs on June 10, 2019; the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 5, 2019. While these celebrations have their different origins and dates, our calendars flipped from 2018 to 2019 at midnight Monday 31 December. 1 January 2019 arrived as a new day, a new year.  

Many of us use this juncture as a dividing line to farewell a year that perhaps didn’t pan out as we might have wished and welcome a year for which we hold out hope of life being different, better – a better job, a new house, improved health and fitness, greater harmony in our relationships. Such goals have their place, especially where they are righting imbalances that can creep into our lives in daily increments. But do they deliver a better (aka ‘happier’) life?  

A devotion encountered during advent readings this December uncovered a challenging prayer that perhaps presents a more productive foundation to a better year. Why it may be more productive is that it deals with our hearts, rather than our circumstances. It centres on seeking the humility of Christ in our lives, to follow in his humble footsteps. Hard to think of a more fitting head- and heart-space within which to enter a new year.

 Read it and you’ll see it takes more than a little courage to pray it.

 ‘Happy’ New Year.

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honoured, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being criticised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

 From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.  

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.
O Jesus meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Help me to put my self-importance aside
To learn the kind of co-operation with others
That makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household.

Amen.

Adapted from a prayer by Rafael, Cardinal Merry Del Val, 1865-1930; source: ‘Waiting Here for You’, Louie Giglio.

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