Shortly following WW2 the Chaplain of the United States Senate said during a prayer before the opening session: "Lord...help us to turn - for we are hard to turn..."
The memory of the horrors of that war must have been fresh on his mind, as the U. S. and the world set out to learn from it and, where necessary "to turn...". However, he must have sensed how extremely difficult and daunting it was going to be to learn from the mistakes of the past, and to turn from them to a better way. History since then has spoken - were we turned? Has the world been turned? If so, to what or to whom...?
In all things, there must be turning. We all speak about the "this old world keeps on turning". This of course speaks of a repetitious programmed turning, and also to that which seems inevitable. Change of most any type can be understood as a "turning" out of or away from and to or into something else. It has been so ever since the days of Noah (Genesis 6:5) when mankind refused to be turned to their Creator. And Jesus made it clear it would be so, as far as this world system is concerned, until the very end (Matthew 24:37). God's law of entropy working in the material is universal - even in us as physical creations. Technically, there can be no change until there is a turn - or at least the start of a turn. God is very interested in and very concerned about the subject of turning. He waited patiently for a very long time prior to and during the days of Noah for the world to "turn" - to turn back to Him (1 Peter 3:20). There are so many moments in the lives of parents in these latter days when the agony of their hearts plead for a turning - a turning of a wayward child from a life of impending disaster and destruction, or a mate who seems to oblivious to the needs and hurts of the other. So many times they have pleaded, begged, and prayed that he/she would JUST TURN - turn from whatever it may be, to another way - a better way for all, especially themselves!
WHY are we so "hard to turn"?
Sometimes it seems that it is so difficult to just turn around and to go the other way. Ask any husband or wife who has pleaded with the other to just turn around because somehow, somewhere, somewhere they missed the turn. But invariably it seems be driver is determined to proceed regardless! It is not new. God has been pleading with this world which seems DRIVEN to do it its way regardless. Seemingly, it just will not "turn"! For hundreds of years God pleaded, even begged, with Israel to turn from their ways. Time upon time, over and over, He pleaded "Oh why will you die, Oh Israel - return to Me, return to Me - and live!" But most of time they did not return...They knew they SHOULD turn. They also knew WHAT to turn to, and WHO to turn to. In the world now, most do not even know what to turn to, much less WHO. The world knows, in a sense, they need to turn to something, and also what to turn from, but they are practiced in their way. They are ''HARD TO TURN"...(Romans 1}.
As God's people living in such an environment, we also will find it "HARD to turn". Partly this is because of living .in such a world. But unlike the world, we can turn. Enabled by the Holy Spirit, we can BE TURNED by Him - IF we will be a co-worker with Him, and allow Him to turn us from anything that is hindering us, or crippling us and preventing us from becoming who Christ would have us be. Other people (mostly because of what we think they might think) can keep us from turning, personal bias or wrong opinions, or pride get in the way of the Spirit. Even thought patterns, or an anxious mind hinders the Spirit's gentle urging - and we miss a turn He would have us make. For some of us, a stubborn disposition blinds us to the right turn we could have made.
To be aware of our need to turn requires most of all a sensitive and softened heart. An unrepentent and hardened heart willl almost always miss the turn. Repentance is a lifelong attitude. It is'nt a one-time thing. It is a continuium for our whole life (Acts 3:26). The reason this is so involves an almost forgotten aspect of turning that many assumed is not longer necessary, along with repentance. This word conjures up more feelings of discomfort than the word repentance. That word is: CONFESSION. How can confessing and repentance of something to God cause discomfort when we know there is forgiveness! Fear of confession is for those who do not yet realize there is pardon and complete forgiveness and acceptance - we should be able and eager to confess ANYTHING to Jesus when we have this realization! This is the bondage aspect of the the law, which could never provide a clear conscience, but only a sense of fear (1 John 4:17-19). Confessing our sins triggers real repentance, which evokes forgiveness, which dispels fear, which then enables us to be "made perfect" in LOVE...
Confessing our sins to God, with this understanding, should bring us peace, assurance, and contentment...(1 John 1:7-10)
It was mentioned above that change is impossible without there is first a turning. In a similar way, turning is at least difficult without confession. I am not implying formal confession at a place of worship, but personal one on one confession of our sins and failures to Jesus regularly. Why regularly? - Because not a day goes by that we do sin in some way. Yes, our sins - past, present,and future have been paid for, and will never come up for judgment. They are considered as far away as West from East! However, this does not means that we DO NOT sin. We are being saved from our sins, not in our sins. Logically, if this were not true, why were we not taken to be with Jesus the moment we accepted Him as our Savior? If there is no more confessing, no more repenting, and NO MORE TURNING from and turning to, there would be far less reason for Him to leave us here. Granted, we could still be witnesses, and serve Him, but we would certainly be much less effective witnesses, since others would be seeing little if any change in us! If we preach repentance and turning to a world that is, obviously very hard to turn, and we are NOT TURNING, it will be difficult to get their attention. They would be even harder to turn! This is a very important truth to keep in mind, or we cannot continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Savior and serve Him as He desires. Repentance allowed us to make the turn to Christ. Confession prepares us to BEGIN the turn - our original turning to Him for forgiveness. Now, we are being saved FROM our sins.
Otherwise, we will find that we will become more and more "hard to turn"...(James 3:3).
We are accepted as complete in Christ even now - but we are not perfected now. Although we are considered "holy" as being forgiven, God is in the process of PERFECTING holiness in us (2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:12). We should pray for the discernment to recognize every form of sin and evil - and above all, to TURN FROM IT. How sensitive are we to subtle and deceptive forms of evil that are accepted as the norm in the world - a world that needs turning? Jesus Christ wants to flee every form of evil - in other words TURN AWAY! God's ultimate objective is to keep turning us to confession, to repentance, and toward maturity of holiness until our times are complete (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Those of us who have or have had children should understand what has just been said. Some children need very little correction, and seemingly very little guidance. They will "turn" at the slightest glance or indication of disapproval. About all that is needed is a good example (they have observed their parents being easily turned?) - even a very few words, are all that is required. Others resemble the story of the mule that would not even twich until someone got his attetion first - with a two-by-four betwen his ears...
I pray that you will live every conscious second of your time God is giving you RIGHT NOW to grow in holiness and complete spritual naturity. I pray that we all will grow up into Jesus, and able to recognize and TURN FROM every form of evil, until we reach the height and depth and breadth of the love of God that is in Jesus Christ - (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Our Lord, Savior, King, Judge, Brother, and Friend says to all who believe in Him: "You, therefore, must be perfect, growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity, as your heavenly Father is perfect". - Matthew 5:48 (AmpBible)
"Be not like the horse or the mule, which lack understanding, which must have their mouths held firm with bit and bridle, or else they will not come with you." - Psalm 32:9
"Lord...help us to turn...for we are HARD TO TURN!" - Amen!
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