WEEK 23, Day 1, Monday, 6 April 2022


Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 6 April 2022:

Deuteronomy 2:4 — “They will be afraid of you. So be very careful.”

Fear can be a very dangerous thing in relationships, and the Christian must be the bigger person and rise above it, understanding potential fear induced responses from others.

Deuteronomy 2:7 — “These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”

Trust in The Lord to make up for what others don’t do for you.

Deuteronomy 2:19 — “I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.”

Remember that God is also caring for others, not just you. Be careful not to resent or covet God’s gifts to others which He hasn’t given you.

Deuteronomy 2:30 — “But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand.”

God may allow conflict in your life for His purposes. He will not always reveal to you what He is doing, but often it is not mostly about you.

2 Corinthians 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

“’Therefore, having these promises….’ I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my ‘body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,’ or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.

I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived— a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?

Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.” (Oswald Chambers)

2 Corinthians 7:10 – “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

Not all sorrow is good, and not all sorrow is bad. The Bible says there is a grief which is good, and this ‘good grief’ has been called one of the “glorious paradoxes” of the Scripture. The difference between good grief and bad grief is whether it draws you closer to God (repentance, surrender, and subsequent assurance and joy) or further away. Good grief sorrowfully renounces sin while rejoicing in and leaning into salvation.

  • 1 Timothy 1:15-17 — The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
  • 1 John 1:9 — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Consider the following comments from Ligonier Ministry’s Tabletalk Magazine –

“Theologians and preachers typically distinguish two different attitudes that might be described as ‘repentance,’ at least in some sense. The first of these attitudes is attrition. In essence, attrition consists not of sorrow for offending God but is rather sorrow related to a fear of punishment or sorrow for losing a promised blessing. This is the kind of sorrow displayed by Judas, who was repentant for what He had done only in the sense that he wished he could undo it and that he knew betraying innocent blood would put him under the divine curse (Matt. 27:3–10). There is little evidence in Judas that he was sorry for wronging Christ, and we find no awareness in him that the primary problem with his transgression was not that it would incur punishment but that it was an offense against the holy character of God. Judas was sorry for opening himself up to punishment, and instead of submitting himself to God’s mercy, he took matters into his own hands and killed himself.

Contrition is the attitude that marks true repentance. In contrition, the penitent person acknowledges that the primary problem with sin is that it is a direct offense against God Himself. Contrite people understand that they deserve punishment, and they confess that the Lord would be just to inflict punishment if He so desired. They do not despair of the hope of forgiveness; in fact, the hope of forgiveness drives them to go before the Lord and express their sorrow. Nevertheless, they recognize that God does not owe them pardon. The godly grief that Paul describes in today’s passage recognizes that a great injustice has been done against the Lord in breaking His law.

We find an excellent example of contrition in Psalm 51. David recognizes that at the most fundamental level, God is the one whom he has offended, and that the Lord would be blameless to condemn him (vv. 3–4). If we do not have that attitude when we repent, we have not shown true contrition for our sin.”

When James warns the church against worldliness, he says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10) James is calling fellow believers to godly sorrow or good grief, a humble spirit that God can exalt.

There will come times in your life when God wants you to experience godly sorrow before you can return to gladness. Remember Romans 8:28, 29 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” God will use your godly sorrow to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus.

Godly sorrow is a joyful (positively hopeful) life-giving sorrow, not the worldly kind of grief that ends in death. If you are experiencing godly sorrow, you already have reason to rejoice because you know you have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus, not by works, and you are experiencing the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life which is convicting you of sin and guiding you in sanctification. Through genuine repentance as you rejoice in the confidence of God’s grace and reconciliation through Jesus, you glorify His Name – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)

Even Christians can get trapped in a worldly grief which wallows in guilt, which simply refuses to truly repent (be contrite) and really accept forgiveness as a gift of grace through Jesus. Sometimes they will say they know they are forgiven, but they keep looking backwards and refuse to let go of the guilt. Obviously, you can’t be an effective minister/messenger of reconciliation and an ambassador for Christ if you don’t feel and reveal genuine reconciliation through Christ. “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

  • Psalm 51:17 — The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
  • Isaiah 66:2 — But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
  • Luke 9:62 — Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
  • Philippians 3:12-16 — Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Additional thoughts on godly sorrow by Henry T. Blackaby:

“There is a difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow, though both are deeply felt. You can feel genuine sorrow over something you have done. Your mind can become consumed with your failure and offense against God and others. Judas felt this kind of sorrow. He betrayed the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver, the standard price of a slave. Yet his sorrow did not lead him to repent and to seek restoration with his fellow disciples, but rather to a lonely field where, in his anguish, he took his own life (Matt. 27:3-5). Judas carried his sorrow to his grave.

How different Peter’s sorrow was! Peter, too, failed Jesus on the night of His crucifixion. Peter also went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). Yet Peter returned to Jesus and reaffirmed his love for Him (John 21:15-17). Peter was not only remorseful, he was also repentant. Peter’s life changed. There is no record of Peter ever denying his Lord again, even when he was persecuted and threatened with death. Peter repented, turned his life around, and never committed that sin again.

Don’t allow mere unhappiness over what you have done to rob you of genuine repentance. You can blame yourself and be angry with yourself for the sins you have committed, but that is not repentance. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the gravity of your sins. Ask the Spirit to clearly show you how God views your character. When you see your sin from God’s perspective, you will experience godly sorrow.”

Finally, a work from Oswald Chambers on 2 Corinthians 7 and repentance:

“Conviction of sin is best described in the words:

My sins, my sins, my Savior,
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. The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” 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.”

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 April 22: Where needed, replace attrition with contrition, receive forgiveness, and walk confidently and joyfully in God’s grace, proclaiming the grace you have received to others.

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