Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ezra 9-10

(September 25, 2014)
                When I was in the depths of my worst sins and vices, I would sometimes need to take airplane rides for various reasons.  At the time, I was deathly afraid of flying, so when I had a trip coming up I would repent and get out of my issues for a week or two before my trip.  As the plane taxied down the runway on take-off, I would desperately pray that Heavenly Father would protect me on my flight so that I could make my repentance more permanent.  When I arrived back home, I would try to keep that promise, but days, weeks, or months later I would be back to my old ways – forgetting the promises that I made to the Lord for my deliverance.

                It has been a long time, and I have finally moved beyond my wickedness in this way, but I think back to those unkept promises and I realize that I need to repent of them.  Like the people in the time of Ezra, I was so quick to forget my deliverance when I reached a point of comfort.  But the Lord was always there to answer my prayers (and not just by keeping a plane in the air, but in every way I needed Him to be there for me).  I was not a good son to Him for such a long time, and I am still not.  But I am beginning to understand what being a good son to Him means and to desire that result.

                I think that is a major difference.  Rather than attempting to bargain with the Lord (“help me and I’ll repent!”), I am beginning to want to do the right thing just because it is the right thing.  This week, I purged a significant weakness out of my life – not in negotiation for some result or protection from some fear, but just that the Lord asked if of me.  Despite challenges since then, I find myself so overwhelmingly optimistic about things that I am feeling the Lord’s influence holding me back – I want to rush out and find the next thing I can repent of or sacrifice to the Lord (and I think He wants me to make the changes I made this week stick before I move on).

                When we promise change for deliverance, we tend to forget the promises after being delivered.  We don’t repent because we need a particular result, we simply repent because it is the right thing to do (and we let the results come as they may).  This, to my mind, is the only way to achieve lasting repentance and is a big portion of the reason why I am actually getting over some of my weaknesses.  Where before I repented because of some external fear or desire for reward, I am now learning to repent because of who God is and who I am.

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