That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you. - Joel 2:12-13
To give God our heart may mean a tearing within, a brokenness of spirit, a horrified realization that our sins have grieved the very heart of God. This should tear us up inside. Yet our loving God wants to forgive us. Out of our brokenness, he wants to give blessing. For a revival of our relationship with God, we will need, first and foremost, to give our heart into his hand. No business is more important or urgent than doing business with God.
It’s essential business—this tearing of the heart. Perhaps there has been too much preaching and posturing and not enough praying! Real praying—prayer that allows God to get his hands on our heart—brings results. Turning back to God, however, requires discipline like that of an athlete, disregarding the inevitable pain involved. The discipline of devotion includes the willingness to be broken in order to be restored.
This message to Israel to turn back to God carried a promise of restoration and revival (Joel 2:18-32). The promise pertains today—no restoration without returning, no revival without repentance! It’s all a matter of the heart. Does our heart break because of the sin that breaks the heart of God? Do we give God permission to break our heart for him? Such spiritual sensitivity is a daily discipline, a moment-by-moment exercise of real-izing the pain that unholiness causes him! When we give God our heart, we must expect that it will be broken. But out of the broken-ness comes blessing!
For Further Study: Joel 2:12-32
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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