The Fridge Magnets

Posted on January 13, 2016

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For Christmas, my 1.5 year old son received a box of alphabet magnets. He is very intrigued by the idea of letters, but doesn’t quite understand yet what they do. He points to letters on sweatshirts and t-shirts and refers to all letters as “w” (somehow that’s the one letter name that he knows). So according to him, we have a fridge full of “w’s”.

Truth be told, these letter magnets are most often found not on the refrigerator, but on the floor of the kitchen, in book baskets, or tucked into Erik’s slippers. So imagine my surprise when I walked by the refrigerator yesterday and saw this:

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I almost spit out my coffee. Who wrote that?

I immediately texted this picture to Erik to ask him- did you write this?

He responded no (!).

I hadn’t put it there. Erik hadn’t put it there. My son hadn’t put it there (he’s smart, but not THAT smart… or tall). Erik and I started FREAKING OUT.

He called me from work and we talked. What did it mean? What did we have to repent from? Had God ever been know to use primary colored alphabet magnets to send a message before? And if God had one message for us, and it was repent, how were we going to obey?

I think it’s important to say that even though Erik and I are sinful people, because we believe that Jesus is God and that he died and rose again for our sins, we are saved and our sins are covered. A sign saying “repent” does not mean to us “you are going to hell.” It means to us “God is displeased, run from your sin!” And because God loves us so much and has done so much for us, we deeply wish to avoid hurting God by disobeying Him. We also don’t want to ruin the quality of our relationship with Him because of sin. If God is telling us to repent… it is a HUGE DEAL. We started to talk about ways we could remove anything in our life that even hinted at sin in our hearts.

Because of the call to REPENT written on my fridge, I’ve started thinking about the Christian church today. Not to brag, but most of us are pretty good people. We sponsor World Vision children. We feel really sad when we hear about people that are suffering or hurting. We talk about God a lot and go to church every Sunday. We don’t swear (in front of other Christians). We are all described as nice people by those that know us. But are we truly living in a state of repentance? Absolutely running from any hint of sin?

Our greatest sin is pride. We love working on and fixing all the sin in our lives that other people can see. But do you know that God cares just as much about what you think?

The sin that God wants to address in your life is the sin that nobody else can see:

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”

Proverbs 16:2.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:27-28

Truth be told, there are times in my life as a Christian where I have been very deeply involved in secret sin, even though I was saved. I can think of months, days, or weeks where if I had seen that “repent” sign… I would’ve known EXACTLY what God wanted me to stop doing. Hearing about sin during these times when I was steeped in sin always made me feel pretty awful, guilty, hopeless, afraid. Sometimes sin in my life is pervasive and as oily as a disgusting stain that seeps through several layers of clothes. When I am not living in repentance, just thinking about “sin” gives me a pit in my stomach.

If you saw the letters R-E-P-E-N-T on your refrigerator, what would you immediately think of? Has talking about God’s desire to work on your secret sins given you a pit in your stomach?

God says that living with secret sin is like living as a slave of fear (Romans 8). That metaphor is so apt.  Imagine how truly horrible it would be to have a slavemaster as cruel, unrelenting, and debilitating as fear, embodied. I wonder how much of our fear (i.e. anxiety), the fear we experience at all times of the day and night, is the result of our sin?*

That pit in your stomach that you get when thinking of your sin and your mistakes? It’s only purpose is to bring you to a God who wants to take your sin- and all feelings of fear- away.

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you have ‘confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed with your heart that God raised Him from the dead?’ If you have never fully faced yourself on this topic, I encourage you to use this moment to really think about what you believe. If you believe that Jesus is God, and that he died and rose again for your sins, tell Him so right now, out loud! When you do this, you are SAVED (Romans 10:9)! Your sin is no longer on your spiritual record- you are free from fear. You now have the help of God (through what the Bible calls the Holy Spirit) to turn away from the very sins that Jesus covers for you. The metaphor God uses for this point in your life? You are no longer slaves of fear. You are now adopted sons of God, sons so close to Him that you can call him Daddy (Romans 8).

Perhaps you are already saved, but a repent sign on your refrigerator would scare the life out of you.  My question for the Christians reading this- are you running from your sin in every way possible? There is nothing that is too dramatic or too large to give up in your pursuit to live as a free child of God. It is worth small things like deleting an app, cancelling a credit card, stopping half-season through a show, hiding the scale, or refusing to gossip with friends. It is worth large things like ending a relationship, apologizing to someone to whom it will be very hard to apologize, giving away your money, or confessing your dishonesty to a boss or a family member.

If you are a Christian who is craving the presence of God and the experience of Him in your life, you must repent.

Because running from your sin- and I understand that running from your sin can be very painful- means that you are running towards Jesus Christ.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

The repentance of God’s children is how individual lives, whole families, entire churches, and complete cities will be changed.

As it turns out, my mother is the one who arranged the letters into the word Repent on my refrigerator! She did it as a joke when she came to visit a few days ago. But God used my mother’s sense of humor and my son’s primary colored magnet letters to help Erik and I truly examine the ways we are repenting of sin every day. My words on this blog are as unextraordinary and commonplace as magnet alphabet letters, but I am praying that God would use them to help you to examine with me how to live a life a repentance, starting today.

*Anxiety is not sin.  But sometimes we are anxious and fearful because of our sin. And God has a lot to say about how He can help with anxiety. (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 91)

* If, despite truly repenting and confessing your sins, you still feel like a slave to fear and have a pit in your stomach, that feeling is NOT from God. Here are some assurances of our forgiveness: 1 John 1:9, James 1:5, Psalm 103:11-12

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