By Brooke Holt
“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8
This week, we have read many passages on the call to repentance, a call that God has been issuing since the fall of mankind. He spoke this message through the Old Testament prophets, the psalmists, the judges, and John the Baptist. The Scriptures, old and new, are filled with the call to see the ways in which you fall short of the glory of God, to turn from those sinful ways, to amend your life, and to receive God’s forgiveness. These are hard things for sensitive people who like to feel good and to constantly receive affirmation.
Nevertheless, hard things are often the best things. They teach us to persevere and to overcome. Hard messages that speak truth to our lives also teach us the importance of relying on the Lord instead of ourselves. They expose our need for divine perspective, salvation, and empowerment. The Lord is not seeking to diminish us through hard truths but to transform us, and he fills us with the Holy Spirit to make this transformation possible.
This kind of transformation leads to lives that bear fruit for the kingdom of God. So, what is the fruit of repentance you might ask? Godly humility that allows you to grieve your sin; a willingness to amend your sinful ways; new life in the Lord; promised eternal salvation; a new heart that loves God and his ways; and a life directed by the Holy Spirit.
Repentance has been the theme this week and will continue to be a major theme throughout this Advent season. Why do our lectionary readings focus so much on repentance? Because repentance is the way to prepare our hearts for the coming Messiah. As you come to the end of this week, consider how you are making repentance a daily part of your spiritual practice. Do you see new fruit in your life, transformation, and do you have a greater anticipation for when that fruit will be fully developed?
How can you bear more fruit for the Kingdom of God this Advent season? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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