In today’s Bible reading* Jeremiah asks God to bring His people back to Himself, that they may return. (Lamentations 5:21) Don’t miss the fact that God must draw His people if they are to return. People can never return to God unless God brings conviction of sin and reveals a need for repentance. (2 Timothy 2:24–26)
In other words, repentance is a gift from God to bring His people to Himself. Our church’s memory verses for this month (Ezekiel 36:26–27) remind us that God is the source of our coming to Himself. He puts His Spirit into His people and changes their “wanter” so that they want to follow Him and please Him.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit within you,
and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Ezekiel 36:26–27 (ESV)
As I’ve said before, I don’t know that we realize how deeply we were affected by The Fall. Reformer Martin Luther said that even our will isn’t truly free; it too was twisted by The Fall. Jesus said that if God doesn’t draw people to Himself, they are unable to come. (John 6:44)
As you pray for lost friends and loved ones, ask God to bring them to Himself. And as you pray for your friends and loved ones who have fallen away, ask God to grant them repentance that they would return to Him. Otherwise, they never will.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: