Planning for Repentance


“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33-34).

This week, one of our discussion questions asked us to read Matthew 12:33 and share whether we saw any similarities between ourselves and the Pharisees, who knew how to look righteous on the outside, but on the inside were full of sin.

I thought about one of my favorite pieces of fruit – an apple. Sometimes, the skin of an apple is bruised and I can surmise that the fruit on the inside has been affected. Other times, I buy a beautiful, shiny, bruise-free, red apple and bite into it, only to find it is not ripe or that it’s over-ripe. It’s such a disappointment! I want to taste a sweet and crisp fruit, and fully expect that, based on the apple’s appearance.

And then I thought…YES. As much as I wish it weren’t true, I see similarities between myself and the Pharisees. YES, I can clean up the outside; I can put on make-up, nice clothes, go to church, read my Bible, attend Bible studies, pray, and even fast — but the inside of my heart is sinful. And that is what the Lord looks at – my heart! “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

This week, we are focusing on repentance. It’s actually not a difficult concept to grasp: in our hearts we are to turn away from our sins and turn toward righteousness. But doing it is a totally different matter.

Laurie asked us in our lecture if we really feel sorry for our sin. Do we grieve over it with godly sorrow or earthly sorrow? In other words, do we really want to turn away from it and replace our sinful behavior with righteous behavior, or do we just feel sorry we sinned – and that’s the end of it? When the feeling of being sorry fades, we go back to committing the same sin. Again and again. I know that I feel sorry for my sin. I know to confess my sin. I believe that if I confess my sins, God is faithful and just to forgive my sins (1 John 1:9). Psalm 103:12 says He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Praise God for His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ!

However, if I want to replace my sinful heart-fruit with righteous heart-fruit, I must practice repentance. Laurie commented that as women, most of us know how to plan. So true! I know how carefully I plan for our vacations or for parties…even for dinner! Yes, I know how to plan. So, it’s time to develop a PLAN to turn my heart from my sinful behaviors. This week, I will prayerfully seek how God would have me do this. How will I take my thoughts captive? How will I replace my fear with faith? Will I post Scriptures in various places in my house? On my phone? Will I ask a friend to hold me accountable?

I will plan to replace the weeds I am pulling up with fragrant flowers. I want to walk through a verdant garden in my heart.

Growing in Grace


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