By: Richard Gazowsky
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One of the hardest things to do is to say you’re sorry for something that is not your fault, and you know for a fact that you are completely innocent of all claimed responsibility. But what makes the process even worse is when you find out later that it actually was your fault and you were responsible for 100% of the action. Now if these two statements sound hard to swallow, just wait until you find out that I’m really talking about you.
I knew that God was really trying to change me, but I had no clue how He was going to accomplish it. I actually believed some of the things inside me that were wrong were actually unchangeable because they had become such a part of my personality and personal culture that I had developed over the last 56 years of my life. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “That’s just me. That’s the way I am.” And, yes, I’ve said the same phrases myself about things that people didn’t like about me (that I perceived were unchangeable). So, you can just imagine how shocked I was when God said to me, “Now I’m going to change parts of you that you think are unchangeable.”
That was one thing that I really understood. I was unable to change certain parts of me. I knew that God had the ability to change these areas of my personality, but I was afraid that He’d have to physically dislocate parts of my body and have me put in the hospital for these dramatic changes to be made. In other words, for God to change my inside was going to be just too painful for me to bear. Boy, was I wrong. And I’m so glad I was.
The key to everything is saying, “I’m sorry”. This is what God told me to do. “Repent once, and once only,” He said. This seemed so simple that it was hard for me to comprehend how it was going to work. This immediately caused me to ask the question, “But, God, haven’t I done this all before and it didn’t work?” The Lord’s response was simply, “No, you haven’t.”
I contemplated the Lord’s reply for a long time before I realized that there were two basic reasons why it hadn’t worked before in my life. The first one was, that my repentance wasn’t genuine. I hadn’t seen what I’d done was completely wrong, so my repentance wasn’t heartfelt and I hadn’t received the full treatment from the presence of God. But even though I repented of something I didn’t feel was 100% my fault, I must’ve had enough faith in the word of God to believe that He was telling me to say, “I’m sorry”; to believe that my own view of the situation was false.
To rectify this whole situation, I realized I must believe that God’s word is true and I am a liar. If I have enough faith to admit this, then my repentance will be genuine. I cannot describe to you how hard it was to come to this conclusion, to get my stubborn mind to come around. But I finally quit trying to figure it all out and stupefied my self enough to say that God’s word was true. Once I did this, I was amazed to see the results that instantly began to occur in situations around me.
The second reason why my repentance hadn’t worked before was, the revelation of my blindness and inability to see my own faults that others saw all too clearly. When I began to genuinely repent, my faults began to be apparent to me and it opened up a new vista that literally shocked me. Before, I would always repent of something I did wrong multiple times. But now God was saying, “Repent once, without an invitation for a second repentance”. At first this sounded kind of silly. But, oh, do I now see how important it was. Jesus said, “If a demon is kicked out of a house he will come back later. If he finds the house empty, swept and clean, he will go find seven more demons worse than himself and will bring them back with him into the house. The second condition of the man will be eight times worse than the first condition.”
Wow! So this is how sin, faults, or mistakes escalate in our life. For example, if a guy uses a cuss word and he immediately repents of it, the bad thoughts that caused the swearing are moved completely from him. But if his mind continues to dwell on it and he repents about it again, the original spirit, that brought the negative word back to his mind, goes back and brings back seven more spirits worse than himself. The first spirit induces them to have lengthy conversations with the guy, guaranteeing that his second angry outburst will include even more cuss words. The scenario is repeated in almost every besetting sin that you may be fighting with. God’s answer is so easy. Just say you are sorry and never think about it or discuss it again. That’s it! That fast He changes you.
I don’t pretend to know what the dynamics are in the Spirit that cause you and me to change so completely. The secret ingredient is obviously controlled by God. But I do know that it works so completely that I’m having a hard time realizing it’s the same Richard that looked back at me in the mirror today. I’ve been changed that completely. May God change you in the same way.
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”