repentance and muscles

We hear a lot about Repentance, especially in a sermon or a message.  We know that repentance means ‘to turn’.  Specifically, Wikipedia defines it this way:

Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and the resolve to live a more responsible and humane life.

Usually my acts of repentance involve denying self.  The challenge for me, in denying self, is that we usually don’t establish disciplines on how to do this.  We just know that it’s the right thing to do.

For example, to deny myself certain foods, I have to control my diet, think about my choices, and as a result – it strengthens my muscle of denying self as related to appetite.

So for other areas of denying self – i.e. loving and serving others – I need a steady diet of choosing the needs of others before myself – before the muscle is strengthened and the choices become more reflexive.  Not driven by guilt or burden, but by that discipline that knows: ‘This will be good for me because it’s how God made me.”

After the “Like a Good Neighbor” series, The Hubby and I felt conviction and wanted to repent.  We’ve had great intentions about loving our neighbors, but little follow through.

So last week, we pushed past some selfish desires (mostly on my part) and invited our neighbors over on Friday night.  As an Introvert, days off for me usually require alone time and little entertaining, in order to recharge.  But I knew this was God’s prompting, and so we put the invitation out there.

Our evening was lovely.  Delightful.  Relaxing and even Re-charging!  We finally got  to know our neighbors more in-depth than just our usual Hello on the sidewalk or Wave as we grab the mail.  And while I’d like to say this muscle of self-denial is strong and will respond well the next time it’s stretched, I’m sure I’ll need a few more regular workouts before the actions are reflexive.  What muscles is God stretching in you?

 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  Romans 7:15-20


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