Indulge, Repent, Repeat

Indulge, repent, repeat. I saw these three words on a t-shirt today and found it rather humorous, if a bit close to home. It was a t-shirt advertising mustard, of all things. Of course, I want one. And, of course, I want to wear it to church. But, of course, I won’t.  We Christians aren’t very good at laughing at ourselves. I blame Paul. He wrote all those letters and never included even the hint of humor. Come on, Paul. Not even one joke?

Of course, repentance is not a laughing matter, and Biblically speaking, it is not something we can even do ourselves. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We cannot drum up repentance no matter how much we flog ourselves. But, the advertisers weren’t talking about that kind of repentance. They were talking about the sort of thing we promise ourselves we will start doing tomorrow but never do, hence the repeat part.

Here’s my list of what I promise myself I will stop indulging in, and repent of beginning tomorrow.

1. Eating.

2. Shopping.

3. Finances (refer to number 2, please)

4. Starbucks (refer to number 3 please).

5. Keeping vampire hours.

6. Rising early to have time for a healthy breakfast (refer to number 1 and 5 please).

7. Exercise. (Who am I kidding?)

8. Call my mother. (There is no reference for this one, I just need to do it.)

And, that is the superficial stuff (except for Mom). If I included a list of major things, well then, true repentance would be needed. For instance, who can take care of my bitter heart, or judgmental thoughts? Will a half-hearted promise to myself before drifting off to sleep change my sharp tongue? Or is determination enough to forgive what I believe is unforgivable?

The clever t-shirt not-withstanding, the dilemma, whether superficial or deep, is that we need Jesus either way. We can’t repent and not indulge without his help. He is the willpower or determination we need. Oh, I know. It is not cool to say that. It is okay to say God, but nobody likes it when you bring Jesus into the dialogue, because honestly, that is where repentance rears its head in the truest definition of the word. That is the place where the conviction of the Holy Spirit shows up, and each time we deny Jesus his rightful place, we feel the dishonesty in that. Repentance is turning away from our rejection of Christ, and acknowledging him as Lord of all, even ourselves.

Repentance over all the little things in life, yes, but repentance over thinking we’re our own god and rejecting Jesus as God, well, start there. The rest will come, including calling your mother. I know because I called mine tonight.