Some of you may find the following narrative difficult to accept as fact. Others know me well enough to believe this narrative is not only possible, but probable. I can tell you from a first hand account that it is true. Memory may have played with some of the details, but the event is real.
When I was in 6th or 7th grade a friend or two and I received disciplinary action for talking in class. Mrs. Reynolds, our teacher, called us out of the classroom, lectured us about our constant chatter, and assigned us to “write sentences.” As I recall we were to write “I am sorry for disrupting class, I will not talk in class unless called on by the teacher” or something to that effect. Too make the punishment more effective we had to have a parent sign our completed sentences.
When I asked my dad to sign them, he first asked me a question. “Do you mean it?”
“Do I mean what?” I answered.
“Do you mean what you wrote? Or are you just writing what you were told to write?” He continued, “If you don’t mean it, I cannot sign it because you would be lying if you turned it in, and I would be encouraging you to lie.”
I think maybe my dad had read Joel 2:12-14,
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?”
God does not want lip service only.
- God does not want outward signs of repentance alone. God wants my heart.
- He does not just want me doing the right things in worship – He wants me to worship Him in the right spirit.
- He does not just want me to show up on Sundays and for Bible Class – He wants my life to be a life of self denial and daily taking up my cross for Him.
God wants me ALL IN!