Welcome to Day 11, the official halfway point of this 21-day fast. Over the last few days we have taken long hard looks at the parts of us that keep us from returning fully to Jesus. We can declare our desire to yield fully to Him, but we must remove barriers. Pride, selfishness and independence can create separation and walls that keep us from fully returning to Him despite our best efforts. These walls of pride and independence must be replaced with the only thing that can make these walls fall-surrender. It takes humility and yielding your will to His. Scripture refers to this as "rending."
"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing! JOEL 2:12-14
The rending of the clothes in scripture was an expression of extraordinary uncontrollable emotion, chiefly of grief, terror or horror. It is not mentioned as a part of ordinary mourning throughout scripture. It was reserved for a time of deep emotional turmoil. Joel does not forbid such extreme outward behavior of repentance, as long as it is accompanied with the inward affections. Because it is what takes place on the inside-the rending of the heart-that leads to true repentance and emptying yourself of sin and love for sin. In other words, your experience with God should "cut to the heart." It should lead to a deep desire to give up everything else and follow after God with your whole heart!
Think About It
- What does this concept of rending mean to you on a personal and spiritual level?
- If Satan were to try to keep a separation between you and Jesus, where would he focus?
- Knowing this is where you think you are most vulnerable, what will you do to protect yourself from this attack or deception?