Over the last few months I have had the honor of ministering to the women incarcerated at our local county detention facility. When God first called me into this ministry I had no idea of how much I would grow as a Christian and how God would push the boundaries of my life and my husband. In bringing the Gospel to these hurting women God has help me look at my own life and the personal need for repentance.
Jesus said, “they that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 KJV
The New Testament (which literally means “new covenant”) was written primarily in Greek. So it is often helpful to look at the original Greek words used in the Gospels to gain a better understanding of what God is teaching us. In Greek, the word used for “repent” means “a complete and total change of mind.” In order to truly repent we must deliberately turn away from our old way of life and strive to follow a new path.
Let’s look at Luke 15 and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In these scriptures Jesus intended for the younger son to be a character to which we could all relate. We have all been guilty of disgracing our heavenly Father by placing our personal desires and cravings above all else. God is very much like the father in this story because He loves each of us just as that father did individually, uniquely and unconditionally. God has been with us always, for better or worse. We must believe that God stands by us at all times, even when we choose to worship ourselves and harmful behavior instead of Him.
In the story, the son travels a great distance to separate himself from his father. Do we not do much the same when we make choices that are contrary to God’s design for our lives? Because of those choices we experience spiritual separation from God. The son reaches his all time low in verse 17 when he comes to the revelation that “he came to himself” in the King James Version. The son realized that his behavior has brought him financial, physical and spiritual poverty. He decides to return home and ask his father to allow him to work as a servant. The son believed because of his “sinful” behavior his father would never forgive him but just maybe he would consider allowing him to be a servant. He made a humbling personal choice to turn away from his sins and return to his father, this is the essence of redemption. How many times have you thought God will not forgive me? Not this time…I really messed up this time. I’m here as a testimony that God’s love for us is at the heart of His forgiveness. Just like the father in the parable…the father in seeing his son coming in the distance called to his servants to bring a fine robe. In this the father re-establishes his relationship with his son, showing the son his love and forgiveness. As scripture says “still a long way off” the father meets the son on the road. God meets us along our journey, walks along side us encouraging us to continue discovering who we can be as His child, loved and valued.
I’m so glad God is not like us. His capacity for forgiveness and compassion has no boundary. God wants nothing more than for us to turn away from our sins and turn toward Him. Amazing that we can return to Jesus just as we are…not “fixed”, we have only to make a commitment to meet Him along the way and GOD WILL BE THERE! Deliverance and Freedom becomes real for you and me.
Thank you Doug for your support in this journey!
Be Blessed, Laurie
Thank you to Michael K. Mason for the wisdom he shared in his book “Amazing Grace”.