‘Just as there is a momentum to evil, so is there a momentum to repentance.’
Surrender is everything. Unless the seed releases itself to good soil, it remains hard and contained, unable to bear fruit. But when we open in faith, holding nothing back, ‘the Lord works wonders for the faithful.’ (PS 4:2) The ‘wonder’ of repentance requires our personal surrender and good soil in which to open.
At our inaugural conference of Restored Hope Network, pioneer Frank Worthen spoke piercingly of the first point: our personal surrender. After nearly forty years of helping men and women come out of homosexuality, he cited full surrender to Jesus Christ as the factor which differentiates those who proceed to wholeness and those who fall back.
Last week I had the privilege of witnessing a beautiful woman (one of our Living Waters leaders in Kansas City; I’ll call her ‘Kate’) testifying before her church of the journey from lesbian to winsome mother and wife of two (with the help of ‘the best husband in the world.’) Her intricate story hinged on one thing: full surrender to Jesus. She had made a faith commitment to Him years before but was not ready to die to her lesbianism and live for Jesus alone.
No therapy, no group, no eloquent truth can change the fickle heart.
Nevertheless, her ‘death’ required a context. A Christian family loved her pointedly at the point of her readiness to surrender. In a sense, their love primed her for repentance. After that, her restoration into whole womanhood moved swiftly. The momentum of her repentance halted the destructive impact of her double-mindedness and surpassed it.
Repentance means little if we have not good soil in which to die. A seed can open and perish in toxic soil. Gratefully, Kate has a pastor (currently participating in Living Waters for his own well-being) who is committed to creating ‘good soil’ for all who surrender to Jesus in his parish. He knows the risks (outraged seekers) and the rewards: the momentum of repentance to set willing hearts free.
‘No-one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of heaven.’ (Lk 9: 62)
Repentance and Refuge – October 8, 2012
October 8, 2012
‘Know that the Lord sets apart the godly for Himself; (‘works wonders for the faithful’ NAB); the Lord hears me when I call to Him.’ (Ps. 4: 3)
Amid the threat of death, David trusts the Lord. We can too. Our world defies life at every turn: abortion, contraception, doing what we want with our bodies and so defying the giver of life Himself. With child-like trust, we turn to Him—our Creator and Redeemer who ‘works wonders’ for the repentant heart.
Like David, we can be assured that God Himself becomes the refuge for those who trust in Him rather than in sexy idols. He is the counter-cultural God! Think of it: He chose Israel out of all the other nations to reveal Him—the one true God—through instituting monogamy—one man for one woman. The Church today bears witness of her glorious future when she becomes one with Christ, her bridegroom, through the witness of whole relating between man and woman.
That means that God will work wonders in those of us who have gotten off track. He does not just call us to do right—He helps us! He sets us apart for Himself. We become like Him as we worship Him. He redeems us, which involves our freedom to become sexually whole. He is our refuge, our wonder-working God.
‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.’ (Ps. 91:1, 2)
‘May we trust in You, O God, amid the threat of sexual immorality. May we become like You as we place our hope wholly in You. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.’