Written by Josiah Piett
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about repentance and resurrection. I think there is a powerful connection between these two concepts; you can’t have one without the other. Repentance is the recognition of the beliefs and behaviours which need to die within ourselves and be resurrected into their original intent.
When we choose to surrender ourselves to Jesus and to follow His ways, we are actually saying we are committing to the death of our old selves and for the rise of the new self. The Holy Spirit is the great fire that allows our new life to rise from the ashes of our old self. This is why repentance is key in walking with Jesus. The more we repent, the more is resurrected in our lives. The enemy tries to use guilt and shame to stop us from turning to Jesus.
The enemy will use any means or thoughts necessary for you to not repent from your old ways and turn to Jesus—especially for those who are choosing to follow Jesus. This is not only because the enemy doesn’t want you to receive the forgiveness that Jesus has for you, but he doesn’t want you to experience the resurrection that is directly connected with that which you are repenting of.
So often when we experience this conviction, we simultaneously experience feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment and fear. But the Holy Spirit does not desire us to remain stuck feeling these things, the Spirit desires for us is to lay these things down before our Father in prayer so that we can receive forgiveness and resurrection.
I truly believe the amount of “new life” we experience on this side of heaven is completely dependent upon how much we are willing to repent and surrender to Jesus. The forgiveness of sins is completely accomplished only through what Jesus has done on the cross and through His resurrection. There are many of us who are feeling stuck in our relationship with Jesus. We continue to repent of the same things over and over. We wonder if anything will change. We feel like hamsters running our hearts out on the wheel of life only to end up in same spot we started in.
I want to encourage you this moment that not only has God forgiven you as you confess your mistakes to Him, doing a new thing in you. I know you may not feel it and even see yet but I promise you that as you continue to turn to Him first, there is something being resurrected in you. A seed must be buried before it can grow and bear fruit.
As I have been praying for followers of Jesus in Canada, I keep seeing this same image: the image is of a jail cell. Many of us feel as though the cell that we know Jesus has set us free from is the very cell we find ourselves in today. Many of us have even shared our testimony of how God has set us free from the very thing we have now willingly chosen to step back into.
If this is relating to you, I want you to know that the cell door is open. You do not have to stay in the prison of your mind or your behaviour. Through Jesus, the cell door is open and will stay open. The choice is yours and it’s one we have to make daily. Repent and receive the resurrection that God not only designed you to live but in promises you through His Spirit. He you and is for you and he will not give up on you.