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Spirituality And Repentance November 10, 2006

Posted by rattazzimedia in Christianity, Church, God, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Overview, Spiritual Study, Spirituality, Theology.

My last post talked about the definitions of words, about how the meaning of some important words has shifted over the years and how this is an obstacle to clearly understanding God’s message for us.  This is also a cause of some of the disunity in the religious world today.  Another definition we need to work on to clearly understand the underlying concept is this word “repent”.  Not used much outside of religious circles, the use of this word is clouded with all sorts of connections to hypocrisy and opportunism so much so that the very important concept it represents is lost.  Let’s see if we can poke through this cloud of misunderstanding and shed some light on this vital concept.

A point I mention in just about every post is that we live in a world, and each of us is the product of a culture, that has wandered away from God.  There is a natural tendency in this world for things to go their own way.  Like a plant needs to be cultivated or your hairdo coiffed, specific and ongoing attention needs to be paid to keep things in order.  I noticed the other day as I was walking along a crowded street that it is often difficult to tell at a glance if two people are actually walking together or if their paths just happen to be temporally in sync.  A little bit of time needs to pass for the natural flow of the pedestrian traffic to begin to move them apart if they are not actually with each other.  This will certainly occur if both are not working on keeping together.  The prophet Amos wrote: “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”   

So what does all this have to do with the word “repent”?  In a nutshell, everyone must understand that as a natural consequence of being the product of a world that is out of step with God, we are each of us out of step with God.  In order to be able to say that we are walking with God, we need to each get in step with God.  Then continue to make every effort to remain in step with God despite the natural flow of pedestrian spiritual traffic.  Coming to this realization and making the firm decision to turn to God is what repentance is all about.  God knows that we are under the strong influence of the world we live in so he has created a way and provided the help we need to get in step with him.  All that is required of us is to believe his promise and follow his instruction.  And his instructions are not burdensome. 

Another word that comes to mind here is inertia.  Inertia is a very strong natural force.  Inertia is the natural tendency of things to keep going the way they have been going.  The natural tendency is for things to go their own way and wander away from God.  Inertia will resist the changes needed to correct this.  Inertia kills.  Inertia works in opposition to repentance.  Everyone must decide to do something about this and also decide to apply sufficient effort to overcome inertia.  That is repentance.  We all need to do it.  We all need to pay attention to this each day.  Repentance is not a one shot deal because each day we have the opportunity to go astray.  So this is not only a message to those who pay no attention to God, this is also a message for the religious among us.  Repentance is looking at your religious practices and teachings and bringing them into agreement with God.  If a constant effort is not applied to this task then your religion will also wander away from God.  This is especially important for religious folk to understand because if your teaching is not in step with God then you will be leading people away from God.  You will be hurting them instead helping them.

Of course inertia also comes in to play for religious folk.  When someone comes with a message that maybe your teaching is a little off base and starting to wander from God’s line of reasoning the natural tendency is to resist correction and waste time defending false teaching.  Each of us must be aware of this and always be eager to repent and get back in step with God.  We cannot be pleasing to God if we ignore the crucially important connection between spirituality and repentance.


1. dragonmommie - November 16, 2006

I really like your writing, James. Very understandable and well thought out. I agree that we must always be aware of where we are in relation to God, then always strive to get ourselves back into sync with Him. Sadly, a lot of people just don’t care about God in the first place, let alone seek to be in sync with Him.

I’ve always been at my happiest, spiritually, when I had the least matierially; but have always felt that nagging insecurity, instead of trusting God 100% to provide. Indeed, He has always provided every need for me at one time or another, including food, clothes and a roof over my head. Obviously, I’ve had to act in different situations to procure these things; but God has always brought opportunities to me, providing my every need. So why do I still worry and let my need turn into greed? I’ll have to explore that further, but not here.

Just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog!

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