...not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
Thoughts for Today:In our previous passage, Paul expressed God's attitude toward us while He waits for us to stop rebelling against His will: "kindness, tolerance and patience". Now he tells us understanding how much God loves us should lead us toward repentance. Or rather, "Because you have mistaken God's goodness and patience for impotence and indifference, you have failed to see your need for repentance." Which is it for you? What draws you to God, the threat of punishment or His love?
When I first started in the mortgage business as a loan officer many years ago, my boss called me into his office for an unpleasant conversation. After six months I had achieved a pretty good record of success, however, some of my support staff considered my approach to be abrasive. Shocked and confused, I said, "I don't know what you are talking about. I have very little contact with them at all. And when I do I'm out in the field -- my buyers and realtors don't have a lot of time, so when I call for status or need something I need it right now -- but I always say please and thank you." My boss looked at me for a really long time before he finally said, "It's a lot easier to get things done with honey than with vinegar. You better figure out how to sweeten your approach or no one will be willing to work with you."
That conversation stayed with me for the next 30 years. How will I get things done, with the carrot or the stick? With demands, threats and intimidation, or kindness and encouragement? Jesus, himself provides the best example of leadership I have ever seen. To lead people effectively we have to also be willing to serve and make sacrifices which are sometimes difficult and painful. Jesus demonstrated that kind of selflessness by giving His life for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). If God's expression of love reflected in that act doesn't lead us toward Him and repentance, then I don't know what will. Unfortunately, many of us seem to need more of the stick (threat of punishment) than we do the carrot (benefit of a relationship with Jesus).
Questions to Ponder:What motivates you toward God? His love for us and desire for fellowship, or the threat of eternal separation from Him? Or rather do you avoid Him entirely, hoping if you ignore your mortality perhaps you won't have to deal with a day of judgment? Whether we want to admit it or not, we will all face the Lord one day. Will you receive the prize for a life well lived or will you stand before Him with your list of excuses? The choice is each of ours.