What is our motivation for repentance? Are we trying to manipulate God in order to receive a blessing? Stop manipulating. Instead, embrace the struggle.
Earlier this year, I was asking the Lord to come through with an answer to a prayer I truly believed was within His will. We were going to be hosting our first group gathering for Oh Lord Help Us. Our heart was to meet with women in our community and share, in person, this message of being who we are created to be. Instead what I got was silence. I was beginning to sweat. If He didn’t come through, I would once again learn that painful lesson on humility. So I began asking myself if He was withholding blessings because of unaddressed sin?
This is not a bad question to ask, the Lord did reveal to me areas in my life I was holding onto too tightly. But He also revealed to me that my motivation for asking was wrong. The question I then found myself asking was, “Am I trying to rid myself of the sin to have communion with God or to get a blessing?” In other words, was I trying to manipulate God to get what I want, or do I want Him. I am so wretched that I cannot even accomplish remorse; I cannot rid myself of selfishness.
I’m not the only one to attempt manipulation in order to receive a blessing. Jacob is an excellent example of someone who was conniving. He was developing a bit of a reputation, in fact. He dressed up in goat skins in order to fool his father into believing he was his older brother. His father, Isaac, was quite blind and fell for the ploy, giving him this blessing…
May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.
Genesis 27:28-29, NIV
Later in Jacob’s life, he receives another blessing, but this one came straight from God. And as is the case with God, He changed the story of Jacob’s life. He changed his name…
“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Genesis 32:28, NIV
He went from a manipulator to an overcomer.
I want to want Him, but I don’t always want Him. Ahh, yes, this is where I need to be. No more pretending, but being truly honest with the Lord and acknowledging how wretched I truly am. Now I am ready to receive grace. Now I am ready to receive blessing. This is where I remove the goat skin from my arms, and begin to wrestle and struggle with the God who gives blessings.
Daily I find it necessary to reflect on my sinful humanness, the wretchedness that consumes me. But I can’t stay here. This is not the full story, after all! The rest of the story involves justification. That’s a fancy word meaning I’ve been made right with God.
So with my motivation correct, I pray, “Lord show me areas of sin that needs to be acknowledged, and repented of.” And here I find the blessing of communion with God. Here I am free to worship Him fully, and without fear because I have been covered by the blood of Jesus. The Lord is kind to reveal areas that need forgiveness. And in His kindness, He invites me to ask for anything. Including a blessing. Including provision. With correct motivation, the blessing we ask for will be one that is glorifying to the Lord.
Daily I find it necessary to reflect on my sinful humanness, the wretchedness that consumes me. But I can't stay here. This is not the full story, after all! Click To Tweet
(By the way, I was willing to look the fool at the gathering earlier this year. I was willing to go and talk to one other person if that was what the Lord brought. The event, however, ended up being full; almost as full as my heart was.)