I was meeting with a fella recently who was convinced he was a sinner.
He had proof, all the sad fruit, a broken marriage, hurting kids. He had asked God to forgive him but he hadn’t repented.
You see, in our time together, he revealed that he believed he was prone to sin. And as an innate wanderer, he wanted to be punished. Also, he was hoping I would somehow help him put God in control.
“When’s the last time you felt God’s love, His pleasure?” I asked.
He started to give me the correct answer, “I know that God so loved the world…”
I gently cut him off. “I didn’t ask for Bible verses. When is the last time you felt God’s absolute joy and laughter over your life? When was the last time you knew to your very bones that He was absolutely in love with you?”
He looked at me a little confused and he started to give me the correct answer again, “God is love. I know He loves…”
I interrupted again, “I’m not looking for what you know, here,” I said, pointing to my head. “When is the last time you experienced to the core of your being His unquestionable pleasure, His joy, His overwhelming love for you, here?” I finished, pointing to my heart.
He began to think back through his life. After some time he looked at me with desperate tears in his eyes and said, “I can’t remember.”
“Well, that’s a problem,” I said.
He nodded in shameful agreement. He still didn’t get it.
Then I asked him a question, which to him, considering the context of our meeting, seemed ridiculous. “Is He pleased with you right now?”
He began to cry. “No.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“How can He be pleased with me right now?” He responded.
"Is God's pleasure over who you are determined by your actions or Jesus'?" I asked, and then, “Ask Him how He sees you.” He looked at me vulnerable and concerned. “I promise you, it’s good news.”I said this last sentence smiling with joyful tears in my eyes.
We spent the next half an hour discovering the good news. Jesus paid it all and my new friend is forgiven. We discovered together that repenting is about changing your mind regarding who He is, and just as importantly, who we are in Him. To repent is to agree with God on our value based on the price Jesus paid.
Repenting is changing our focus from sin to righteousness. You see, it's our Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (see Luke 12:32), the finished work of the cross.
Sin is the crisis of identity. Jesus paid the price so that we could be free, so that we would no longer be forced to live in crisis.
We are no longer sinners needing to be punished, we are saints living in the greater revelation of His good pleasure. In Christ, we are not desperate for Him to be in control, we are confident and free in the Holy Spirit power of self-control (Gal 5).
Sin separates us from who He truly is and how He truly sees us. But when we live in a revelation of His good pleasure, the same good pleasure Jesus lived in and then purchased access to, sin has no chance to separate us from our Father. Nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8).
My new friend experienced such great transformation that day as He tasted the love of God and truly repented.
I pray you would be transformed by His good pleasure today.
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Website: www.afamilystory.org