Teshuvah: A Life-Changing Season
Teshuvah starts this weekend. This is a powerful time of the year that the Lord will really use to bless your life. The sixth month on the Hebrew Calendar is called Elul. The Jewish people call this time Teshuvah. Teshuvah literally means to return back to where you came from. It is a month-long period before the Fall Festivals.
Whenever we read a prophetic book of the Bible, we must remember that the book gave instructions not just for the past but also for the present. The book of Haggai explains to us this prophetic season and how to prepare for the Fall Festivals.
“1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest: 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
The Lord instructs us to consider our ways during this season. It is important for us to take the time and examine our lives. In our fast-paced world, we can be so on the go that we forget to stop and reflect on our relationship with God. During this season, the Lord is asking us to stop and see where we are at in HIM.
Notice the things that God addresses in these verses. 1) He addresses giving thought to our ways (that represents our walk with Him). 2) He addresses the harvest. 3) He addresses our physical state.
Teshuvah has four weeks in it. There is a four-week process to help us address these areas of our life. In this process, you will see God do miracles this year and years to come.
Week 1 – Make a sin list and burn it. I know this sounds different to people, but Pat Robertson wrote a book years ago about revival. He said the first step was to get right with God, make a sin list, and burn it.
“Take words with you and return to the Lord.” (Hosea 14:2)
We should live a life of repentance, but we need to take the time to comb our hearts. We need to repent not just for the sins we commit, but the thoughts of our mind and the intentions of our heart. Writing them down brings the seriousness of our behavior home to the heart.
Week 2 – Spend serious time in prayer and intercession for others. Notice that God mentions the harvest in the verses above. The harvest can be spiritual, meaning people won to the Lord. When we have repented before the Lord, we can now seriously intercede for lost loved ones, our leaders, and the nation. Pray for the saved to come into a closer relationship and greater truth in their walk with God.
Week 3 – During this week, we want to focus on the spiritual harvest. Write down all of your assets and debts on a sheet of paper. This is called a net worth statement. Write down goals for this upcoming year. You obviously want debts to go down (or go away altogether!) and assets to go up. Your income needs to increase if at all possible. A goal I always recommend is to read the Bible through once every year (from Genesis all the way through Revelation). From year to year, you will be able to track the mighty blessings of God in your life. You will see how he does miracles in your life. We don’t thank God enough. Writing everything down allows our blessings from God to really sink in our minds. We realize just how much we are blessed. Remember, faith without works is dead (James chapter 2). In the business realm, we learn that people who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them. God wrote down His plans in a book (the Bible). We need to write ours down.
Week 4 – Spend serious time with the Lord on your face seeking His will for your life. Spend time adoring Him for the greatness of His blessings in your life. We have so much to be thankful for – eternal salvation, the gifts of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and all the other wonderful blessings in life.
What you are doing is setting up a disciplined way of life. You are setting up habits for this upcoming year. You are considering your ways and really surrendering everything to Jesus Christ. I have done this for the past 9 years and never been disappointed. I am amazed at how God blesses me over and over again in this process. I am amazed at how this helps me to hit the “reset” button on my life and keep me going in the right direction.
In closing, I want to share a testimony I had from Teshuvah in 2010. In 2010, I was broke as a joke. I was working at McDonald’s part time (10-15 hours a week) and trying to sell insurance full time (45-60 hours a week). Things weren’t going well financially; I think I made $12,000 that year.
As I made out my goals list, I thought I would be bold. I thought I would put down a goal of TWICE the income I had made the previous year. The Lord then spoke to me and said, “Is that all you want?” This really took me by surprise. So, I took that as a sign that I needed to aim higher! I wrote down an income of FOUR times what I made the previous year!
And guess what? – I made almost exactly that much money that year! God brought a major increase in my life. Be sure to make goals you plan to work for. I worked more that upcoming year than I ever had worked before. I was bold enough to write down a large goal, and He supplied everything I needed to meet the goal.
In Isaiah 55:6 God said, “Seek God when He is at hand; Call upon Him when He is near.”
The Fall Festivals are the greatest outpouring of God’s Spirit all year. In the sixth month, God is especially near. This is the time to call out to Him with more of our time than we do the rest of the year. It is the time to get square with Him.
If you follow these simple steps, your life will never be the same.