Hard to Find a Good Heart
God, use the difficulties in my life to turn my heart towards You.
Read Joel 2:12–17
12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
16 Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord,
weep between the portico and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn the middle of your trials, can you seek God’s heart-transforming grace?
Repentance usually comes with evidence of a changed life: one that is confident in God’s
presence with us, no matter what our circumstances. God’s prophets often called people to tear their clothes and to dress in sackcloth and ashes as an outward symbol of their repentance.
The prophet Joel calls God’s people to something deeper. Theirs is not to be a simple set of external acts. Yes, they are to fast and weep and mourn. But it is their hearts that God wants to tear apart and remake, not their clothing. Repentance can never be for show.
We live in a society that overemphasizes external appearance. While people look at the
outward appearance, God sees the heart. He knows us inside-out. And he wants all of us,
surrendered to him, even the parts we don’t like and don’t want others to see. Perhaps
especially those parts.
To surrender to God in repentance is to recognize that life is out of our control. It is to give him authority to remake our lives into a pleasing offering for him. Then we will know not only the devastation of his judgment, but also the totality of his forgiveness.
Does God have sole control in your life or are you holding onto areas of control? Give those things to God today.
Lord, help me to surrender control of my whole life to You so that I might encounter Your gracious mercy more fully.
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