Have you ever felt like your faith in God was stagnant?
I have, and one of the ways this happens for me is when my heart develops calluses on it toward God.
These spiritual calluses prevent me from entering into an authentic relationship with God where I don’t f feel like talking to him, and his words to me don’t seem to move my affections toward him. Over the years, I have found that the calluses form when I choose not to follow God in my life and instead go my own way. The more I choose my own way, the thicker and harder those calluses become.
Yet, I have also found the antidote for removing those calluses toward God – repentance.
I know repentance gets a bad rap these days, and it conjures up all kinds of negative feelings. However, repentance is fundamentally an agreement with God. It’s our way of saying to God, “I agree with you God that my way of doing life does not bring me the life I want.” It’s also a way of saying to God, “I want to begin again with you.” When we repent, we stop choosing to go our own way, and start choosing to follow God’s way of love for us.
Every time I repent from choosing my own way, thinking that it is better than God’s way, I find myself caught up in God’s embrace.
It is through this divine embrace that the calluses disappear and my affection for God is renewed (largely because I am overcome by his affection for me).
But repentance on my own is difficult. I need encouragement.
That’s why the church has built into it’s calendar the season of Lent – which is the 40 days before Easter. It’s the time in the church calendar where we can all repent together in order to get ready to receive God’s overwhelming embrace of us on the cross.
If you have developed some calluses in your heart toward God, I invite you to join me for one of our Ash Wednesday Services tomorrow (7am, 12pm, 6pm) in the Chapel.
I am going to be leading an experiential worship service where we can come together to confess the ways we have chosen our own way SO THAT we can begin to experience God’s divine embrace again.
All three services are identical, so come to the one that works best for you. They are designed to be kid friendly, so come as you are in order to be renewed.
Grace & Peace,
Adult Ministry Pastor, Riverbend Church
PS – Feel free to invite a friend (even if he/she does not attend Riverbend) or come with your family to this worship service.