by Elana Shaw
That may seem like a bold statement, but I am convinced that when we operate from a place of complete right standing with God, no guilt trip can ever drive us away from the calm of the Cross and no shame can tarnish our slate. Where everything is out in the open, the enemy can’t chain us down with shackles of secrets. Fear can’t take hold of us. Insecurity can’t get its grip on us. And nothing will by any means ever shake us.
Recently I have been looking at the story preceding the coming down of Jericho’s walls. Joshua 1-6 have kept me busy for a while. In reading these chapters you will see there is a very clear call to action, then courageous obedience followed by a great step of faith and then a renewal of covenant.
The story of Joshua proves to be very testing when you are expecting to always be in the Jericho-phase. This is the phase of victory. It is where the walls come down after being obedient and doing crazy things like crossing the Jordan or walking around a city wall once a day for seven days. We think that after we do the things that seem silly in the eyes of the world (give up a corporate job to work for the church, choosing to be a stay-at-home mom instead of climbing the corporate ladder, rejecting a wonderful opportunity because it’ll rob you of precious family time or ending a relationship because of being unequally yoked) the walls must come down. That’s how it works, right?
Jericho’s walls came down after the circumcision of the new generation…
Now, Old Testament circumcision is not something that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Praise Jesus for the Cross! However, the New Testament often refers to “circumcision of the heart” or “circumcision of the ears.” (Acts 7:51)
What does this mean for us as a church today?
“Both Testaments focus on the need for repentance and inward change in order to be right with God. In Jesus, the Law has been fulfilled (Matthew 5:17). Through Him, a person can be made right with God and receive eternal life (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). As Paul said, true circumcision is a matter of the heart, performed by the Spirit of God.”
Circumcision is a place of humility. It tampers with a man’s pride, and it is painful. To circumcise your heart does the same. It comes through knowing your own shortcomings and being vulnerable to say that you have made a mistake. It is where you renew covenant with God, humbly admitting how much you need Him. In other words, it is repenting.
We face a big problem when the church does not believe it is necessary to repent. People no longer grasp how liberating it is to repent. By repenting of our sins, we place God back on the throne of our lives, leave our inadequacies in His hands and can rest in the knowing that our Father is in control. False grace has ministered to us that there are no consequences for our actions, and even though the grace of God abounds even more where sin increases”(Romans 5:20) it is vital to understand that the grace of God does not negate the need for true repentance and turning away from sin.
The grace of God does not negate the need for true repentance and turning away from sin.
Repentance is the first step to revival. Right through the scriptures we see how God’s people saw miracles after they repented and turned back to Him. Where the fear of the Lord is restored, things move in the Spirit. The attitude of our hearts set the stage for revival to come – and it starts by humbling ourselves before our God and repenting of our sins.
|A note on repentance by Rev. Gayle Claxton |
Many people repent but they still justify why they needed to repent by blaming others (someone else’s fault) and hold onto that as an excuse! The Lord is not looking for repentance of excuses. He is looking to walk with you through the process of restoration by the acceptance of repentance and acknowledgement that, regardless of what our reasons are, we need to change!
I don’t know in what space you are today. Maybe you are expecting to be in the Jericho-phase, but you simply don’t see the walls coming down. Maybe you are still in a phase where you have just been called to courage, but you have yet to cross over the Jordan. Wherever you are, I want to encourage you to embrace the season of “circumcision” once you get there. And if you sense that you might be stuck there, be humble, ask God what is keeping you from tasting the victory and repent of those things. Renew covenant with God and from that place of humility, you can expectantly anticipate the coming down of walls.
Be encouraged! Our God is faithful, and a pure and contrite heart, He will not despise...(Psalm 51:17)
Voice in the City is an international, interdenominational mission organisation founded on the 1st January 1997 by Rev. Dr. Suzette Hattingh and Rev. Gayle Claxton. We are as committed to one soul as to a million and are reaching out to the lost in whatever way possible. We endeavour, as a ministry, to operate under the banner of servanthood in all that we do, having a global vision with a local heart.