by Kathy Matuschka
Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
At times in my life, I have hoped for something special from God. I have had a bit of a vision of what God might do and have charged after it as if I could grasp it if I just tried a bit harder. But it has only been when I got to the point of saying, ‘I give up. Just do whatever you want, God’ that I have seen a breakthrough according to God’s ways and terms.
Do you think that repentance releases new vision and hope?
It’s not that God requires that we repent before blessing us, but more that we seem to keep ourselves as individuals and communities bound by our limited imagination for the new things God will do. So, when the writer of 1 Peter encourages us to humble ourselves so God may lift us up, it’s not about manipulating God but rather about learning to face the limitations of our humanity and turning to God for our vision and hope.
The National Church Life Survey, in which many Australian Lutheran churches take part, tells us that there are three core qualities most indicative of the health of a congregation: faith sharing, empowering leadership and vision.
Through my work, I see many congregations realising the sense of vision they had in the past is no longer bearing the fruit it once was. Might growing in a culture of repentance help these three qualities to become stronger?
Are you waiting for a new vision in your circles? Do you think that repentance might help? It doesn’t matter whether we think of repentance as naming specific sins or admitting our preference for self-reliance – repentance is all about our orientation.
Dear Holy Spirit, keep reorienting me toward the love and hope you have planted within me, and expand my vision of what you will make of this hope. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Kathy Matuschka loves gazing at and walking within God’s creation, listening to stories of life and faith, and spending time with family and friends. She serves within the LCA Queensland District as Assistant Director for Ministry & Mission.