joy: a life of repentance

Sin certainly hampers joy, doesn’t it?

But: there’s the Cross.

I’m reminded of this as I ponder joy and the things that stand between it and me.

The cross means that the sorrow of sin is no longer where I have to live. Repentance restores joy.

Repentance is a process, yes, but it’s also quick. It’s saying, Yes, I sinned. Yes, I’m so sorry. Yes, I want to change. Jesus, cover my sin, and give me the grace to turn and walk the other way. Again. (And again. Oops — and again!)

Suddenly, amazingly, even my own sin need not steal joy away.

Repentance is a place I need to find more often. The Enemy wants to keep me from the throne of grace, make me think it’s not necessary. Blur the lines of sin and holiness. Make it sound like a huge ordeal that I don’t have time for.

Not true — none of it!

Repentance is taking His yoke. Shedding chains. Being made clean. Turning my face toward the sun. Stepping from the shadow into His healing love.

And all in a split-second! Isn’t that amazing? Why don’t I do it more often? Why do I trudge through sin — and then guilt, and then condemnation, and now I’m a slave again — when I could be living at a throne of grace?

So I remind myself, when I feel the weight of my own failures mounting — frustration, impatience, sharp words, rolled eyes, worry, stress — to just stop, repent, and have joy restored. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I don’t want to repent, because it feels deceptively good to hold a grudge or a bit of anger and frustration. But that’s not abiding, and there’s no joy there.

Really, “repent” is just another way of saying “return to Jesus.” And that’s the direction I want to always be headed.

You will make known to me the path of life ; In Your presence is fullness of joy ; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. –Psalm 16:11