How to Repent
By John Piper
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
A vague, bad feeling that you are a crummy person is not the same as conviction for sin. Feeling rotten is not the same as repentance.
This morning I began to pray, and felt unworthy to be talking to the Creator of the universe. It was a vague sense of unworthiness. So I told him so. Now what?Nothing changed until I began to get specific about my sins. Crummy feelings can be useful if they lead to conviction for specific sins. But vague feelings of being a bad person are not usually very helpful. The fog of unworthiness needs to take shape into clear dark pillars of disobedience. Then you can point to them and repent and ask for forgiveness and take aim with your gospel bazooka to blow them up.
So I began to call to mind the commands I frequently break. These are the ones that came to mind.
This is much worse than vague, crummy feelings. Ah, but now the enemy is visible. The sins are specific. They’ve come out of hiding. I look them in the eye. I’m not whining about feeling crummy. I’m apologizing to Christ for not doing specific things that he commanded. I’m broken, and I’m angry at my sin. I want to kill it, not me. I’m not suicidal. I’m a sin-hater and a sin-murderer. (“Put to death what is earthly in you,” Colossians 3:5; “Put to death the deeds of the body,” Romans 8:13.) I want to live. That’s why I’m a killer — of my sin!In this conflict, I hear the promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Peace rises.
Now, prayer feels possible and right and powerful again.
The Praise Perspective
January 27, 2018
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
It is the tendency in most of us to plan our days and weeks according to the activities and work we need to accomplish. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but have you ever noticed how our schedules can become a distraction? The here and now so often grasps our attention that we forget that this life is temporal. But praise transforms our perspective—and that is a good and glorious thing.
Recommended Reading: Psalm 100
In the book of Revelation, John was given the opportunity to look through the “door standing open in heaven” and see into the very throne room of Glory—to get a glimpse of eternal praise (Revelation 4:1). John was profoundly affected by the reality of eternity.
We are constantly pressured to think only about our present circumstances. Worship changes all of that. It reminds us that our current reality is a temporary stop on our way to the unseen reality of heaven. When we enter the presence of God through worship, everything that is going on in life is immediately brought into perspective by the eternal. We see life from God’s perspective—and everything changes. Praise transforms our perspective.
We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.
Henry A. Ironside
Read-Thru-the-Bible: Exodus 38 – Leviticus 4
We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody [behind the Moral Law]. One is the universe He has made. If we used that as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place). The other bit of evidence is that Moral Law which He has put into our minds. And this is a better bit of evidence than the other, because it is inside information. You find out more about God from the Moral Law than from the universe in general just as you find out more about a man by listening to his conversation than by looking at a house he has built.
From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
He Knows Your Need
By John Piper
“Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”(Matthew 6:31–32)
Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25–34, he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety. One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:32).
Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than any earthly father.
I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’sknowing in at least three ways.
First, right now I don’t know where any of my children are. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.
Second, I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts. They don’t even know their own hearts perfectly.
Third, I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.
This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason not to worry. There are things that may be happening to them now, or may happen tomorrow, that I do not even know about. But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. Our Father in heaven! He knows everything about us, where we are, now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.
Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet our needs. Remember the “much more” of Matthew 6:30, “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?”
Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, around the world, Matthew 6:26).
So join me in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”