In the New Testament, repentance means to change the way that we think and act. Without the Lord, this would be impossible. However, when we bring, and then surrender, our thoughts, beliefs and actions to the Lord, He replaces them with peace, truth and hope. True repentance brings transformation.
I love to work in my garden. Have you ever dug a large hole in hard clay to plant a bush? I think repentance requires many of the same steps.
When I dig the hole, I expend a tremendous amount of energy. Being willing to openly expose my sins and faults to the Lord also requires much effort.
Sometimes my feet hurt from stomping down on the shovel as I try to break through the hard soil. Likewise, there have been times when my body, soul and spirit ache as I struggle and my heart can feel like heavy, solid clay.
Next, I have to remove any rocks or roots that are in the hole. In my life, hindrances and excuses can seem like rocks buried in the dirt.
Occasionally, I will even measure to make sure that the hole is deep and wide enough for the root ball of the plant. Have you ever asked yourself, “is the Lord able to forgive this or is this one just too big?” It is amazing that sometimes our hearts feel that way even when we “know” in our mind that there is nothing too large for the Lord to forgive.
Once the hole is dug, I am ready to plant. I must willingly offer up whatever my heart knows is contrary to God’s will. Then, as the Lord takes my burdens and offenses, He adds the soil conditioners so I will thrive. Love, hope and the Lord’s acceptance become the humus and fertilizer that make my soil rich.
In one of my favorite books, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a desolate garden is slowly restored. Restoration is a gradual yet continual process, just as repentance is an ongoing process. We must be willing to continually surrender our will to the Lord’s will.
As we do this, the garden of our life will begin to be renewed. It might begin with one bush, but each time we repent – by letting Him change how we think and act – the Lord adds another plant. Over time our lives are transformed and our garden acquires an incredible beauty.
Are you willing to allow the Master Gardener access to your garden?
More of Marianne’s Devotionals.