Many times in my own life, I have gone to God and apologized for a sin or wrong I had committed, knowing that His mercy and grace would cleanse me, but also knowing that if the opportunity arose again to commit the same sin I wouldnít resist it the way I knew I should. I was just using Godís grace as a temporary fix to clear my own conscience. In my heart there wasnít a real desire to change my ways. I wasnít being honest with God and there was no truth behind my repentance.
It wasnít until a few months ago that my spirit began to feel the effects of this insincere repentance I thought would keep me clean before God.
2 Corinthians 7:10 - For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Godly sorrow leads to a real repentance. It is a repentance that causes a change in our lives; that speaks to the heart, that is true and honest, and one that bears fruit. There are so many times that we apologize because we got caught, and not because we are truly sorry for what we did. If we didnít get caught, weíd still be out there doing the same things. That applied to my own life. My conscience, and my knowledge of the Word of God caught me in my sin and made me feel guilty, but I wasnít truly sorry.
I came to a point where I realized that the sins I was committing were separating me further and further from God. While I was still able to receive forgiveness for them, my relationship with God became more distant, and that intimacy that I was seeking with Him was no longer there. Because of my lack of real repentance, my spirit man and my relationship with God was withering away. God sacrificed His only Son for me, and I was taking advantage of the blood that He spilt on the cross and using it to clear my own conscience.
Real repentance is acknowledging our faults and understanding that while we are the ones who actually sinned, Jesus Himself is going to be the one who bears it because of the sacrifice he made for us. Real repentance is avoiding sin at all costs, no matter what the situation or circumstances might look like. Itís knowing that God desires to be intimate with us, but cannot associate with unrighteousness. It is striving to continually stay pure before Him.
1 John 1:8-10 - If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
None of us are perfect, each one of us has fallen short of Godís glory, but the important thing is to recognize the sin in our lives that can hinder us from having an open and intimate relationship with God. God knows our hearts, He cannot be fooled. As much as sin hurts and displeases Him, our failure to acknowledge it and repent, ends up separating us from Him. However, because of His love for us, He is so willing and able to offer you forgiveness and freedom from the bondages of sin if only you seek out His forgiveness.
Revelations 3:19 - Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
Repentance wasnít designed to make us feel bad, embarrassed, or ashamed. It wasnít made to expose our weaknesses. Repentance is the confirmation of the awesome love that God has for each and every one of us. He wants us to have the most blessed life we can possibly have, and in order for that to take place; we must have a true and right heart before Him.
I challenge you today to examine yourself, and ask God to examine you as well. If you feel that there are issues in your life that you havenít really repented for or that you need to have a change of lifestyle, choose today to make that change. Choose today to live a lifestyle that is acceptable and pleasing to God, one that bears fruit, and one that will avoid sin at all cost, but if and when you do slip up, to have a true repentant heart.
Picture: Thomaz S. Cia
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