A blog by Josh Humbert
So, we got my brother a puppy for Christmas. This wasn’t just any puppy….this was a Jack Russell Terrier. Now, I don’t know if you speak Spanish or not, but what Jack Russell Terrier means in English is this: “stubborn, energetic and feisty breed of dog.” That’s a fact. Look it up.
But this isn’t a lesson in translating or translateology or translationism….no, this is a quick writing with some thoughts I’ve had while observing the curious behavior of little “Doc,” as my bro named him.
You see, I’ve come to re-name his breed. Ol’ Doc is more like a Jack Russell Terrorist. As in….you better not leave anything valuable below less than 4 feet off the ground. He WILL get it. He WILL run with it. He WILL destroy aforementioned valuable. This also is a fact.
Don’t get me wrong, Doc has his good moments (when he’s asleep), but most of the time, he is on his own little warpath.
But the other day, he spoke volumes to me. And…I don’t want to overspiritualize this or be overly dramatic about this, but it was just one of those moments where you see things totally different, I guess. This wasn’t like, “The heavens parted and I had this AMAZING epiphany”…..this was more like “wow….I get it.” Does that make sense? If so….keep reading. If not, go back to 2 spaces and do not collect $200.
Here’s how it went down…
Whenever (meaning: OFTEN) Doc has had “accidents” in the house, the punishment is going “in the cage.” This is the only real punishment that works for him because it takes his freedom away. So, he’s slowly starting to understand, “If I make the carpet into my own personal bathroom, I will have to pay the consequences.”
Well, last Sunday, the whole family is sitting down to a big Sunday lunch and…..what we do have here….Lil’ D saunters over (yes, I did just use the word “saunter”. Don’t hate) and walks into his cage, BY HIMSELF.
It was totally unexpected. He hates being in the cage and yet….we just saw him walk in and curl up in the back corner and lay down, on his own.
We all just kind’ve laughed for a minute and soon realized that he wasn’t coming out.
I started to put 2 and 2 together (question: why do we only put “2 and 2 together?” I’ve never heard someone say “I put 47 and 47 together” or “I divided 480 by pi”. You know what I’m saying? Are we just lazy? Or does everyone else hate math as much as me? Sorry, this is a silly sidebar…let’s get back to the story, shall we?). So…like I was saying, I put 583 and 622 together and realized what might be happening.
Sure enough, I walked upstairs and I saw why Doc had incriminated himself, and it was gross, and it was all over the carpet. Since then, he’s repeated this act a couple times. Sneak away somewhere, live a mess, put himself in the cage.
Do you see what was dawning on me? Doc had learned confession but not repentance.
He had the admitting part down, but he was missing the aspect of change. Confession….but no repentance.
This is an important distinction, for confession and repentance are two different things.
Here’s how I’ve always seen the two aspects:
Confession is admitting your sins. It is not justifying, denying, blaming, or covering up…it is saying “you know what, God, what I just did was wrong and I admit that to you.” Put simply: Confession is agreeing with God about your sins. Confession is agreeing with God’s view of your mistakes, failures, disobedience, impurities, transgressions, and iniquities.
God is Holy and totally without sin. His ways are perfect. Check Psalm 119 out. Check out any of the Bible, really. He is Sovereign and He sees it all. He sees our sins, too. So confession is when we just come honestly to Him and agree that what we did was not holy and was, in fact, sin.
The beauty is that God sent Jesus Christ as fully God and fully Man. Jesus lived a sinless life and died as a perfect blood Sacrifice on our behalf. And get this….He rose again on the third day and offers us Salvation in His name and the gift of the Holy Spirit in us. So, if we’ve received Jesus as our Savior, our Righteousness, and our Advocate that means that when we confess, God will forgive us our sins (1 John 1:8-9). It’s a pretty sweet deal. Amazing grace, how sweet that does sound!
However…it doesn’t stop there. The call on us is to live in a way that brings glory to God, because that is only way to be happy in life. Period. Our purpose is realized when we don’t live for our selfish gain, but instead live to make much of the Trinity of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
This means that we should do good ANY chance we get and that we battle furiously against the sin in our lives. As John Piper’s says, we are not to “coddle sin” in our lives. In other words, as believers, we shouldn’t feel comfortable when we choose sin over God.
So, we Confess…..BUT….we also Repent.
Repentance means we turn fully around. Repentance is to go the opposite direction. A 180. Like a linebacker that picks up a fumble…this play is now going the other way. Repentance happens when we agree that we have sinned and we battle, we push, we claw with our fingernails, and we fight with the strength supplied to us by the Holy Spirit within us to NOT go back to those sins.
When the woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus(John 8), He showed grace on her and at the end of their encounter, Jesus drops this on her, “go and sin no more.” Repentance is commanded. Don’t stay stuck in sin. Don’t stay mired in the mud of sin. Get up. Renew. Repent.
Now, back to Doc and myself.
See, Doc learned the wrong lesson, just like me. He knew there would be consequences for his sin, but instead of changing his behavior, he continued in his mistakes and would not learn “repentance.” He would only confess his sin by humbling himself and stepping into his cage. He would not change and stop what was causing his/our grief and just go outside.
I don’t know about you, but I’m just like that. When Doc crawled into that cage, I saw a small glimpse of myself. I come to Jesus and confess my sins and I’m forgiven. But….too often, I stop at confession and never take the next step of repentance. I don’t change the behavior. I go back to my sinful ways.
Isn’t that silly of me? Don’t you do the same thing sometimes? It’s tough to take the next step of repentance, but it is what is right. It is what we NEED to do.
I sincerely hope I’ve managed to tie these thoughts together in a coherent manner for you. In closing, I would ask you to consider the words of an older Sanctus Real song. It’s called “Change Me” and it’s a cry for God’s help to repent and leave the path of sin and instead walk in the ways of God. I hope you realize that asking God to help you repent is what makes the difference. For on our own, we will fall flat again. As this song suggests, we bring our request to repent to God and He shows us what we need to change, how we need to change it, and then He supplies the strength to do it.
So, check the song out. It’s a honest look in the mirror and shows a desire to repent….and that’s always a good starting point.
(note…the youtube clip at the bottom is basically just the song with a black background. Not sure why someone did that. But, if you’ve never heard the song, you can listen in while you take in those lyrics.)
Change Me—Sanctus Real
And did I change Your mind with what I said last night?
And did I break Your heart by straying so far from what You have in mind for my life?
Would You change me from who I’ve been lately? Cuz I know I’m know I’m nothing without you.
And did my words betray the patience I once claimed?
Can’t You see it in my face? I need Your grace!
Would You change me from who I’ve been lately? Cuz I know I’m know I’m nothing without You.
Would You save me from the way I’ve been lately? Cuz I can’t see living without You.
So would You speak to me? And show me what I need?
Is it Patience? Kindness? All that’s in between?
Loving others the way You love me?
So, would You change me from who I’ve been lately? Cuz I know I’m know I’m nothing without You.
Would You BREAK me from the way I’ve been lately? Cuz I can’t see living without You.
Would You CHANGE me from who I’ve been lately? Cuz I can’t see living without You.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read this. My desire is that you would consider how you are reacting to the sins in your life, like Doc forced me to. Is it time to confess and repent? Is it time to pick up the Word of God and fight back? Is it time to ask God “would You change me from who I’ve been lately?”
Your reactions in the comments below or in messages is always appreciated.
Thanks for reading.