In Christians circles, people talk about times when they were “broken,” broken in their self-sufficiency, their dependence on self and turned to God dependence. Have you ever had a time where you were “broken”? Think about that time. What did God do in your life through that? How did that season change you as a friend, parent, child, co-worker, neighbor, other?
Spend some time right now thanking God for the brokenness and the fruit that has come from it.
Jonah repented in the belly of the fish. Charles Spurgeon defines repentance as “a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.” Martin Luther, the 16th century Reformer, said “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” The New Testament was written in Greek, and the Greek word for repentance is metanoeo, which literally means “to turn around.” It assumes a turning away from something and a turning toward something.
Read Jonah 2. This was Jonah’s response in the belly of the fish. It seemed like he was repentant for his resistance, but we will see that it doesn’t appear that this repentance was long lasting or went down deep enough into his heart. Think of your own life. What is true of you when you truly repent of a sin? What is true of you when you are sorry you were caught but not quite repentant? What can you do to make sure that you are repentant and not just sorry for the consequences?
It has been said that God sent the fish not to pay Jonah back, but to bring him back. What does that say about God’s heart? About God’s way? About sticky places you may be right now that are very difficult?
Read Psalm 51. This psalm was written by David after being found out as an adulterer. Describe what a heart of repentance is, based on this psalm.
Read the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19:1-10. Knowing that Zacchaeus was not an honest or moral man, Jesus still offered salvation to him. What is true of Jesus’ heart for those who are not part of his family?
What was the personal, family, and community impact of Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus? What is the personal, family, and community impact when we are able to lead someone to Christ?
Our UNLEASH campaign works to unleash Cuyahoga Valley Church to reach our neighbors, the nations, and the next generation. This will require a greater effort on our part. It’s easy for us to be lethargic and even lazy when it comes to doing the work of Jesus.
What do you need to repent of when it comes to our neighbors, the nations, the next generation? Is it prejudice? Neglect? Selfishness? Pride? Lack of compassion? No urgency? Greed? Lacking a heart for the lost?
Spend some extended time of prayer asking God three things.
- First—To grow your awareness of embedded sin in your life.
- Second—For legitimate repentance like Zacchaeus.
- Third—To grow your heart for the lost, just like Jesus’ heart.