Last Sunday, Josh preached from Jonah 3 on "Judgment, Repentance, and Mercy." During the message, he described genuine repentance as having the following characteristics:
1) Genuine repentance involves faith.
2) Genuine repentance involves changed behavior.
3) Genuine repentance involves everything in life.
4) Genuine repentance involves a recognition of guilt.
5) Genuine repentance involves looking to God for mercy.
He then asked the following questions for application. Where in my life is God calling me to repent? An area of unbelief? A behavior that hasn't noticeably changed? An area of life that I won't surrender to God?
I can think of many areas where I need to repent these days. Lack of faith that God is working all things for my good. Anxiety about the future - about how many more hurdles we'll have to jump before having a child, about how many more other babies I will see born before I conceive. A proud posture that thinks my will for my life is better than God's. Infertility is proving to be an area of life that I must surrender to God over and over again. I easily get overwhelmed, despairing that I will ever grow Christ-like enough to humbly accept this trial from the hand of God. The problem when I reach this point is that I get paralyzed; I need to repent of so many things, where do I begin? In those times, I need to ask for help. I need to ask my husband if he sees one area I can focus on (this has helped me so much in the past). The input of close friends helps, too. Above all, I need to believe that God intends to show mercy. He will give his Holy Spirit to guide me. He gives everything that I need for life and godliness through Jesus Christ. So I can repent, not with fear, but with faith.