Saturday, December 13, 2014
December 11 – When godly grief is at work
For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. For consider how much diligence this very thing—this grieving as God wills—has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:10-11 HCSB)
If we had it our way, we’d laugh and party our way through life, and have an even bigger party to celebrate after we die. Nobody likes sadness or grief, but God says that all of us need godly grief in order to find salvation. Repentance is only real when there is grief, a deep sorrow for the way you have lived your life, for the fact that you are a sinner who is worthy of condemnation. It’s an honesty with yourself and with God that is both brutal and beautiful. It kills the old you and clears the way for God to create a new life within you.
The worldly grief that produces death is so common that few even recognize how futile it is. We feel pity for those who grieve over lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost pets and broken relationships. All of those are normal responses to loss, but there are some people prolong their grieving unnecessarily, idolizing the things that they lost. If God is the source of your life and the answer to all your needs, grieving over worldly things has no purpose. We never see Jesus visiting tombs of dead relatives. He only appears at Lazarus’ tomb to raise him from the dead. When He called men to follow Him, some asked to wait until they could bury their fathers. Jesus matter-of-factly told them to “let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8, Luke 9).
The grief of this world distorts your perspective of what is real. Moving on to greater blessings and leaving the past behind is crucial to living by faith. We are able to look forward to so much more than what we lost. Those who have passed on to eternity now know the truth about the spiritual world and have no use for our tears. Being mired in self-pity and emotionalism destroys faith and feeds our flesh, which is why worldly grief leads to death.
But look at what grief according to God looks like: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! They showed themselves to be pure when the sincerely repented, turn around and began to obey God like never before. When you grieve for the evil that you see in your own life, you will have a holy indignation and a zeal for what is right. When you grieve for the way this world is self destructing, you can fight against principalities and makes a huge impact on lives around you. Justice can be done when godly grief is at work.
Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure.” God isn’t saying that we can never have fun or enjoy life, He is showing us that through godly sorrow, real life can begin.