Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Tearing what's Hard

“Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Joel 2:13 NLT 

The tearing of garments and other outward signs of religious emotion are easily done and frequently hypocritical. To feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. People will attend to numerous small ceremonial regulations—such things are pleasing to the flesh—but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of carnal humanity. The unconverted prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances give temporary comfort; eyes and ears are pleased, self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up. But these actions are ultimately delusive, for in the matter of death, at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean on. Apart from true, living godliness, all religion is utterly worthless; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham, an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven. The tearing of our hearts is a divine work one that is solemnly felt. It is a secret grief that is personally experienced, not in mere ceremony but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit on the believer’s innermost being. It is not a matter to be merely talked of or even believed in, but to be keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely purging of sin—a sweet preparation for those gracious comforts that proud, unhumbled spirits are unable to receive. It is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone. This morning’s Scripture commands us to tear our hearts, but they are naturally as hard as marble. How then can we do this? We must take our hearts to Calvary: a dying Savior’s voice once split the rocks (Matthew 27:51), and it is just as powerful now. Oh, blessed Spirit, let us hear the death cries of Jesus, and our hearts will be torn just like the clothes of men in their day of grief.
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

As I sit here, I look back upon my life.  There are some pointed moments where Jesus brought me to some crossroads. 
Places where I had no where else to look but up.  

There's some semi-famous paintings of Jesus on His knees reaching towards Heaven with tears running down His face.  

When those moments hit me,  as they happen, I can see that as me.

We often don't get it. We often think that what happens on the outside is enough.  Maybe it's at an altar call or at the time in your car after hearing a song that in some way touched you. But consider the depth. Was it deep enough to cause change in you?

A very memorable one for me which wasn't entirely expected was after a Sunday evening service.  There was the altar call.  I went up and for whatever reason the truth of me was brought to the surface.  I couldn't help but cry.  A week went by and at the end of that service it repeated.  It didn't happen a 3rd time.  But the weight of worlds were lifted.  For the first time in a very long time I really felt like I had been with Jesus.  Jesus never was far from me, but was waiting for me to acknowledge that He was right and wasn't going anywhere. 

Confession is good for the soul has been turned into a catchphrase of a sort. Sometimes even turned into a punchline. 
People would rather joke about it than acknowledge the need of it.

I read still more in Revelation this morning.  Even as the judgments are released upon mankind, even as one third of mankind is dying or has been killed.  Even with all that they refuse to repent of the things they are doing in sin.  Their hearts are so hardened to God that they refuse and would rather die. 

In a short while those things we read about in Revelation will be today's headlines.  Jesus is coming back soon.  

He indeed will call out believers, both those who have died in Christ and those who are still alive.  Those left behind will either only then finally get it of what they missed and then get saved, or they will be like I just described.  Hearts so hardened they refuse. 

People, in several places the plea from the Lord cries to all.  Do not harden your hearts towards God.  What is that? Its a stubborn refusal to change what we know is wrong.  To let go of what ought to be let go of in order for a deeper relationship with Jesus is to happen. 

My times of tears hurt more than I ever thought possible, yet I wouldn't trade them for anything.  Because of them God opened more of Himself to me.  The more He does, the more I really do want to let go of things.  

How often do you go off somewhere, leave what you have behind, thoroughly enjoy yourself, never realizing that you never missed the 'stuff' you left behind to be where you are?  You unexpectedly found joy in not being burdened by your baggage. 

When we let go and let Jesus make the necessary changes to us that need to happen to be more like Him, the pain is real, but so is the relief. 

Let go right now to things that weigh you down.  Get real with yourself and God.

It may hurt to expose what needs to be but you won't regret it.  To repent is to acknowledge God's truth of us and to turn around and go the other direction from those things.  Pain might be a part of it but you will never regret it.  Peace comes soon afterwards that you can't describe. 

What do you need to talk to Him about today?

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