"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't Tear The Cloth!

      Tear your heart instead! That was Joel's message to God's people Israel in chapter two of his prophesy. He began by issuing a terrifying prediction of God's host rendering the earth lifeless ... unless His people Yet even now turn to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning, declares Jehovah.(Joel 2:12)
      Okay, nobody tears their robes and throws ashes into the air anymore. Today's church has more sedate rituals of repentance. We might respond to a convicting sermon by slipping down to the alter and shedding a couple of alligator tears, feeling better for having demonstrated our sincerity before the church. As liberating as that public act of humility feels, how long does the life-change last, if there was one at all?
      We moderns habitually guard our hearts from the pain, embarrassment and inconvenience of breaking--or tearing--as God commanded through Joel. Oh sure, we might occasionally become infatuated with someone and come away with a "broken heart," but that's not the kind of agonized tearing that leads to true repentance, as God constantly commands. Without it we will never turn away from the sin that renders us spiritually impotent, and condemns us to perdition.
      So, don't make a religious show of tearing the cloth you wear on your body, or performing any other ritual of repentance. Instead, tear away the armor you wear on your heart so God can rend your heart unto repentance.

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