I’m clingy. Just ask my husband. Tuesday morning I kept hugging him even while he was brushing his teeth.
I also like to cling to objects that I deem valuable. Take my brand new pack of scrapbook paper for example. It’s the prettiest paper I’ve ever owned. I purchased it for the sole purpose of using it, and yet, when it came to scrapbooking a gift for my cousin’s graduation, I didn’t want to use it.
My heart is like those clingy little vines on my pea plant. In a matter of hours, they shoot out dozens of tiny tendrils that wrap around whatever is closest to them.
But last week, I realized they were choking themselves to death. They were grasping onto each other and themselves, which was actually squeezing their vine too tightly and breaking them. One even clung so tightly to my bell pepper plant that it squeezed off a bloom, thus preventing a bell pepper to grow. Not okay. So I set up twine for them to grab and climb up. I had to completely break off the tendrils that were killing it (and my peppers) and tie some to the twine to get it started.
If I’m not careful, my heart will latch onto things around me that aren’t good for me, too. That’s the stuff that’s called sin.
It’s not good enough for me to say that I need to “turn away from sin.” Turning my back on one sin can very well mean that I’m turning to a whole host of other sins. Just like my pea plants will have to learn to cling to the twine, I need to learn to cling to Christ.
But it hurts to let go. Just ask those pea tendrils that I had to snap off. God issues a call to repentance (AKA turning from sin) in Joel 2:12-13.
“Even now – this is the Lord’s declaration – turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God…”
Repentance is not a little matter. It’s not a quickly admitted “sorry” as though we are feuding preschoolers on the playground. True repentance from sin involves a change.
Stop turning away from sin and focus on turning to God. Once we learn to focus all our efforts on Him, then and then only will we see that God has turned us away from sinful things.
Repentance is a both/and. We both turn to God and away from sin. God does not promise an instant, pain free existence. Did you catch the phrase, “Tear your hearts, not just your clothes?” Our hearts latch to our sin. They don’t want to let go. It’s only in tearing it off the world that we will be able to live for Christ.