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No matter how hard we try to hide, it just doesn’t work. A continually unrepentant spirit in the life of a believer eventually shows itself.
Oh, we might be able to fool some people some of the time, but eventually, even those people become aware that something’s just not “right.” Ironically, as people become more aware that there’s a problem in our spiritual walk, we become less aware — often becoming more arrogant and judgmental in the process.
Our continual running from repentance leads to a continual deafening of the Spirit’s voice. His pleadings become stifled from our pride, and spiritual ears that once heard Him clearly barely hear Him at all.
King Saul in the Old Testament is a good example of this. The newly crowned king of God’s chosen people started out well. He seemed to be a humble man, even denying his eligibility to be king: “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?” (I Samuel 9:21).
Oh, yeah, and when it came time to announce his kingship for the first time? He hid!
So, you see, he started off well. He proved himself to be a humble and forgiving, gracious and caring king (see chapter 9). Yet, that changed. In chapter 13, we see him making decisions based on circumstances and feelings instead of God’s directions and commands — and we never see him repent.
Instead, by chapter 14, we see the spiraling effect of an unrepentant heart showing its ugly head. Saul becomes more and more selfish, making unwise and ungodly decisions. He pushes aside the counsel of God and promotes himself as the spiritual leader, when that was the job of the priest. All the while, he continued to “appear” godly. In one instance, Saul called for the Ark in order to receive the counsel of God before battle. Yet, he soon told the priest to “withdraw your hand” and went ahead into battle — without waiting to hear from the Lord.
Saul’s arrogance increased throughout chapter 14. Read about it and see! He made self-promoting, prideful vows — continuing under the guise that he was spiritually strong. One vow, in particular, would have taken the life of his son, but the people (who by now had begun to realize there was a problem) stopped the king from proceeding with the judgment.
I guess you would just have to read the whole book of I Samuel to get the full picture of what an unrepentant heart will do to a person, but it is clearly seen in these pages. My question for us today: Is it clearly seen in our lives as well? Is the evidence of an unrepentant heart fleshing itself out in your life and mine to the others around us, and are we so clearly entrapped by its deception and our own pride that we have no idea?
Let’s do this — let’s take a few moments. Even better, let’s take a whole lot of moments and be still before the Lord. Let’s ask Him to show us things in our lives such as unrepentant areas, unconfessed sin, all the ugly mess that is deceiving us and causing our downward spiral.
Then, let’s repent! I’m game. Are you?
Prayer: “Dearest, gentle Father, I want to know — I need to know as the Psalmist did — if there is any offensive way in me, if there is any unrepentant, unconfessed sin in my life that is causing my walk with You to spiral out of control. Show me, Father. Thank you for being patient with me.”
Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and firstname.lastname@example.org.