Monday, November 7, 2011

Promises for a Humble Heart

This morning, as I was very sleepily reading my Bible, I was reminded of God's grace for the heart that accepts responsibility for sin. Because of an upcoming Bible study lesson I am teaching, I am thinking a lot about the fear of God. Let me just remind ya'll of something: God is worthy to be feared! So many people emphasize on God's love, mercy, and grace that they forget that He is also a just God who cannot look on sin. He is to be feared.

I remember I learned fear of God by first learning fear of my mother. It sounds horrible to say, but I always knew that my mama would have strict consequences for me as a result of my own bad decision. Normally it was a spanking that fit the crime. If I lied, it was more swats. If I cheated in was a lot more swats. If I was fighting with my sister, it was a few swats that made me immediately work things out with sis. Being the middle child and the conflict avoider that I was, I made it my life ambition to avoid these consequences. Fear of my mother's punishment and disappointment was enough to stay completely out of trouble, or hide it extremely well.

I learned to fear the consequences from my mother--and this taught me to fear God. I know God's spankings usually hurt worse than my mama's did.....

One thing I do remember about my mama's discipline was that it always went better for me if I confessed my sin....BEFORE she found it out on her own. If I confessed, rarely did I get a spanking, though I was certainly in trouble. I remember when my sister confessed to cheating in school. My mom was SO upset, but sis didn't get a spanking and after a few days of tension in the house, the two of them were able to deal with the consequences of extra work smoothly.

While reading from Jeremiah this morning, I was reminded of how similar Mama's response was to that of God.

"I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you have rebelled against the LORD your God, and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, and have not obeyed my voice, says the LORD. Return, O faithless children, says the LORD, for I am your Master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion."  (Jer. 3:13-14)

Get it?? God wants a humbled heart to acknowledge guilt before Him--and He promises His anger will not last forever. If He has to hound me and discipline me until my heart finally confesses, then the discipline will be harder than if I come with a broken spirit to begin with. Keeping a tender heart of confession before the Almighty God will allow me to have a right relationship with Him....and He won't have to stay angry at me forever!!

I want to go to Zion. I want to confess my sins so He won't be angry and will take me to a place of rest. He has promises for a humble and confessing heart--and I'm going to take Him up on those promises.

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