This advent season I am remembering my imperfections because they are what keep me grounded in The Lord. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Sometimes God’s grace gives us the strength to recognize our weakness, and to find healing in spite of them.
Unfortunately it’s difficult to experience the advent season, and prepare our hearts for The Lord’s coming, when we are so lost in our own pride, our own boasting, and our own standard of living. Repentance makes it easier to receive The Lord into our hearts, our lives, and into our homes this Christmas season.
In Proverbs 28:23 it says that whoever conceals their transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
There is something a little scary about repentance and asking for forgiveness. I really think the scariest part about repentance is the fear that there won’t be any mercy on the other end. Even Adam and Eve had this fear in them when they sinned in the garden of Eden. They hid from God and then Adam started blaming Eve. They really had no comprehension of mercy before they sinned so they probably didn’t even consider it. All they thought about was the warning that God had given them to begin with and the fact that they disobeyed Him. It’s natural for us to expect punishment for the times that we have sinned, and the times we have disappointed God.
For me, it’s really exhausting not seeking forgiveness and God’s mercy. But sometimes there are moments where my remorse will be clear, and how undeserving I am of something will weigh on my heart, and I will realize how avoiding repentance, and God’s mercy prevents me from extending that same forgiveness and mercy to others. It truly breaks me but it doesn’t destroy me like I thought it once would.
When we refrain from repentance then we build a wall of pride around our heart. Sometimes when I forget God’s mercy over my life, I truly become more judgmental of others and myself.
We can get lost in the imperfections of those around us. I do get disappointed in people, and I know that I can sometimes disappoint God, too. But God’s mercy is always there when we mess up, and that makes it even more meaningful when we are able to humble ourselves and truly repent for the sin we have committed.
If repentance were easy then everyone would do it, but it’s not. However, knowing that mercy will be on the other end truly makes it a little bit easier to do.
One of the most beautiful things about being a follower of Christ, and preparing our hearts for Him, is that we don’t have to have a perfect life with “good” acts in order to receive His gift. Instead we are only called to repent and fall into His arms of mercy.
In psalms 32:5 it says, “I confessed all of my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt and The Lord forgave!” Preparing for the coming of The Lord requires repentance. John was born before Jesus in order to “prepare the way.” Through repentance and baptism, John prepared the way for our Messiah.
Today we can easily prepare the way for The Lord by embracing a heart of repentance. SO often we can get lost in why we are offended, but searching our heart and embracing repentance is truly what brings the freedom we are so desperately looking for.
P.S. My gift to you is the 1 John 1:9 scripture image shown at the top of this post. Just download, print, cut out, and enjoy!
Download by clicking on this link: Advent Day 17 Scripture Image