Girlfriends in God - August 18, 2011

August 18, 2011
Charge It!
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
He (God) is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, NLT).

Friend To Friend
Several years ago an interesting cartoon appeared in the Saturday Review of Literature. Little George Washington is standing with an ax in his hand. In front of him, lying on the ground is the famous cherry tree. He has already made his smug admission that he did it because, after all, he "cannot tell a lie." However, his frustrated father is standing beside him saying, "All right, so you admit it! You always admit it! The question is when are you going to stop doing it?"

That is the question at hand, girlfriend. We often soothe our bothered conscience with admissions of sin. We then present them to the Father as obedience to the spiritual principle that we must confess our sin. There is, however, an element of true confession that goes a step farther and results in a change in lifestyle and behavior. It is called repentance.

I once associated the command to repent with old-fashioned gospel meetings and screaming preachers on television. In reality, repentance is the very cornerstone of genuine forgiveness and gives credibility to the very act of confessing sin. To repent simply means to “turn away from.” When we choose to turn from our sin and turn to God and His ways, we are practicing true repentance.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

What does it mean to repent? The woman in the book of Luke knew. She models repentance for us and illustrates beautifully the truth that if we want to experience worship we must come to God, seeking forgiveness and being willing to repent of our sin. Forgiveness is our greatest need and God’s highest accomplishment, always resulting in worship.

Luke 7:38 “As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

This woman stood behind Jesus like a “caught” child who was ashamed to look her Father in the eyes. I am certain that her guilt and sense of unworthiness prevented her from facing Him.  Just being in His presence made her doubt everything about herself but nothing about Him.  Standing so close to Him simply transformed her and she began to weep. Jesus was as pure as she was sinful. Every ugly thought, word or deed of her past must have flooded her heart and shattered it.

Tears of sorrow and joy spilled down her face onto the feet of the One – the only One who truly loved her. Those tears were the first prayer of her life. She then let her hair down in total submission, dropped to her feet and began to dry the feet of Jesus with her hair. The social custom of the day demanded that women keep their hair bound up. To let it down was considered a brazen act and could even be grounds for divorce. But this woman was beyond caring about social custom and earthly rules. She was conducting eternal business. She found what she had been searching for in every wrong relationship, every failure and every dead-end choice. She found Jesus!

She began kissing the feet of Jesus while pouring perfume over them, totally oblivious to those watching. The word “kissed” literally means “to kiss again and again.” Standing in His presence, she somehow knew that He understood everything she could not say and loved her in spite of her sin. It is very important to notice that Jesus did not move away from her. He did not condemn her or stop her. He knew exactly why she was there and He was thrilled! He saw her heart and received her humble action as an acceptable gift of worship.

Jesus looked past her sin and saw her heart crying out for forgiveness. Notice His response in Luke 7:48: “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ ” Wow! God always majors in grace and forgiveness. The tense of the verb “forgiven” indicates that this forgiveness of sin was completed in the past, continues through the present and will keep working in the future. The forgiveness of God is complete and eternal.

A little girl was sitting on Santa Claus' lap. She gave him a long list of expensive toys that she wanted for Christmas. Without a word of appreciation she jumped off Santa's lap and started toward her mother who stopped her and asked, “Honey, haven't you forgotten something?" The little girl thought for a moment then said, "Oh, yes." Turning back toward Santa she shouted, "Charge it."

God has already "charged" our sins to His Son and has paid the debt in full. Powerful worship flows from a heart that has repented from every known sin and received the gift of forgiveness that God offers. 

Let’s Pray
Father, I want to truly worship You and am ready to confess and turn away from my sin. Please search my heart and life. Reveal every wrong attitude and action that is keeping me from truly worshipping You. Lord, I am tired of trying to live life on my own. I am desperate for You. Right now, I surrender everything I am and ever hope to be to You.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Are you ready to turn away from your sin and turn to God? If so, record the following commitment in your journal. Pray through each statement. Sign and date your entry.

·         I understand that forgiveness demands repentance.
·         I choose to admit the sin in my life.
·         I choose to “turn from” the sin in my life.
·         I will destroy any paths that might lead to that same sin.
·         I will trust God for the power to practice repentance.

More From The Girlfriends
One of the most powerful illustrations of God’s love and forgiveness is found in the lives of Hosea and Gomer. Read their story in Mary’s MP3 download, Love That Never Fails.

Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. 

Be sure to check out Mary’s weekly Online Bible Study: Stress Management 101. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

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Originally published Thursday, 18 August 2011.