In chapter two of the book of Joel in the Bible, it says, “And even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart,” (verse 12).
God doesn’t want us to feel like we are too far gone or too messed up to come to Him. He loves us and wants us to love Him.
All through the Bible we see imperfect people being used by God. We don’t have to clean up our mess before we can approach God. When we ask Him for help, He cleans up our mess better than we ever could.
This Bible verse in Joel reminds me that no matter what circumstance I’m in, no matter what I’ve done, He wants me to run to Him first. If we cry out to Him, He hears us. He wants us to give our whole heart to Him.
For those that already claim to be Christians, this verse in Joel makes me think of us in regards to “rededication.” In certain “circles” there is a lot of emphasis placed on “getting saved” or “rededicate your life to Christ,” lingo that may not resonate with some.
What I’ve noticed over the last decade is how often Christians “rededicate” their life to Christ, like it’s another big moment in their faith when they come back to God, like when the first time came to Him. That is definitely the case for some. But the main theme here, both in “getting saved” and “rededicating your life” is repentance.
Repent (verb) express sincere regret about one’s wrongdoing
Repentance is hard because (1) we’re admitting we’re wrong based on God’s standards (pride hit), and (2) we’re supposed to do it over and over again. Why? Because we mess up over and over again (pride hit again), and the way we make that right is talking to God and repenting. Admitting we’re wrong, asking God to forgive us (also hard, asking forgiveness), and then asking Him to change us from the inside out so we don’t make the same mistakes should be something we regularly do.
So, instead of having that one moment where we “walk the aisle” or “rededicate,” shouldn’t we be teaching the habit of repentance? (Easier said than done; harder to explain practical application. I know.)
When I was 13, I had this rededication experience while I was at summer camp. I didn’t make a big deal about it to other people; I told my youth pastor and stood before the church with the others that had made “spiritual decisions.” But for me personally, it was a big moment. From that moment on, I wasn’t just another kid going to church because my parents brought me. I already had that relationship with Jesus, that backbone, but now I was actually living for Him, understanding what it looked like to take up my faith on my own.
It was several years later as an adult that I realized that really, all that needed to happen was repentance. And it did, but it was all about the big moment still; not learning the habit of repentance. Repentance is an important spiritual discipline, and I’m still trying to learn that discipline as a regular part of my relationship with God.
I acknowledged my sin to you,Psalm 32:5
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.