Four cabins’ worth of kids and counselors.
Four different sets of instructions.
We were given brief instructions on reading our compasses before we were given our first clue.
“And you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”
45 degrees. 20 paces.”
We figured out that our starting place was at the electrical box. The compass was hard to read. It took a long time to find North. It wobbled like crazy. From the electrical box, we made an educated guess on our direction and tried to imitate a grown man’s steps to find our 20 paces. From that point, we found another clue. At one stop, we inadvertently found another cabin’s clue instead of our own. We were only off by a few points on the compass and a few paces, but it led us into a circle instead of to our final destination. If we hadn’t gotten off track, we could have won the challenge!
Many Christians are following a defective compass. After years of hearing Gospel presentations that tell them to just “ask Jesus into your heart,” they are wandering in circles. They have no victory over sin. They don’t know how to fix their deepest problems. They are bound by the chains of addiction. They are stuck in unhealthy patterns that are robbing them of abundant living.
They have believed the lie of easy grace. It is a consumer version of Christianity. Ask Jesus into your heart. Tell others about Jesus. Go to church. God will help you. But there is a key ingredient they are missing.
Jesus told people to repent.
“But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”–Luke 13:3 NIV
Peter said it.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”–Acts 2:38 NIV
Paul said it.
“First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”–Acts 26:20 NIV
What is repentance?
It is from the Greek word metanoeo
, meaning to think differently afterwards, with the connotation of feeling sorrow
for one’s actions.
Without repentance, our compasses spin wildly. We have no victory over sin. We have no strength from the Holy Spirit. We are stuck in miserable pits of our own making.
Until we want Jesus more than we want the comfort of our sins, we will get nowhere.
Until we lay down our pride and humbly bow at the feet of our Creator, we are still lost in our sins.
Until we confess the rottenness of our selfishness, our words are meaningless.
Until we beg God to forgive the wretchedness of our souls, we are without hope.
But once we have laid our ugliness out before God and repented of our sin, we receive complete, healing, freeing forgiveness. We receive the presence of the Holy Spirit, God Himself, as he fills our hearts.
This is freedom. This is healing. This is victory. This is life like you’ve never known, so much better than your pet sins.
If you haven’t embraced it yet, I beg you to spill everything at Jesus feet. The freedom is like nothing you have ever known.