Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Repent. It is an act of changing direction. It is deciding to turn around from a previous heading.
Repentance first involves acknowledgment. Acknowledging and taking responsibility for our decision to depart from God’s way and taking our own. David said:
Psalm 51:3 “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
David is saying, “I realize I have crossed the line. I am in full admittance that I am responsible for my actions and am admitting them to you, God.”
Our guilt and shame will hound us and force us to make a decision. One who will decisively and consistently push away the Holy Spirit’s conviction will ultimately be in danger of having a seared conscience and becoming a reprobate.
David went almost eighteen months before he got right with God. Every day, he felt that conviction, shame, and guilt. God came in the form of a man named Nathan, His prophet.
Nathan was directed by God to confront David about his sin. Using an illustration with which David could relate, Nathan relayed a poor man whose one little ewe lamb was taken by a rich man who had an abundance.
Indignation over the injustice rose up in David’s heart and began to pass judgment.
2 Samuel 12:5-6 “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Then, the curtains were pulled back on David’s sin.
2 Samuel 12:7-8 “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.”
We often apply our experience of love to God and make His love for us conditional. Because we fail in our relationships and change our love for others, we think God changes His love for us. God’s love for us is unconditional. It is not dependent on how we act or whether or not we return that love.
God’s love is eternal and unchanging. Agape.
So, when we hear that He desires to chasten us for our wrongdoing, we can know that it is purely out of love and nothing else. Being zealous to repent, or turn from our sin to God, is purely our choice out of our love for Him.
I know that I cannot trust my heart to feel it before I repent. I must have already made a choice to turn. Once the decision is made, my heart will follow.
The process of God rebuking us can take on many forms.
First and foremost, it happens when we read the Word of God with our hearts open and willing to hear His voice. Many are stuck at this point because our hearts have been made numb by sin.
Our eyes become blind, and our ears dull to hear. Many will wait for a feeling that will seldom come and languish in sin, wondering if God will send someone to rescue them. That rescue comes in the form of a friend, brother or sister in Christ, our pastor, a radio preacher, evangelist, or a book.
God is not limited in any way to reach our heart with the truth needed to convict and draw us back to Himself.
Jesus tells us to be zealous and repent.
Webster’s definition of zealous is to be warmly engaged or ardent in pursuit. For that to happen, we must have high regard for purity and a right relationship with God. Without those things, we will settle for less every time.
May it be our desire to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice and leading enough that when we begin to wander, our hearts will quickly pull us back to God in confession and repentance.
Ask God that we not remain long like David dealing with our sin. Ask to help recognize the gap and do something about it.
May we keep short accounts with God. Short being the time between when we sin and when we get it right. Then, we can enjoy a relationship with God, unhindered by sin.