Repentance…Our Spiritual Lifeline!
The last time we visited, my “stay tuned” tease was designed to allow you to examine how “Sorry Doesn’t Cut It” has played out in your lives. If you did, I have no doubt you remembered how sorry you have been about something you did or was done to you. It likely wasn’t hard to remember and deeply feel some of those moments again…right?
Why is it that pain, failure, guilt and shame resurrect themselves so easily in our lives? When we reflect, we realize those things don’t help us. They are lousy motivators for change! They leave us undone. Consciously or unconsciously, we often define ourselves or others by these negative experiences.
Our first two steps in experiencing lasting change in our lives are – RECOGNIZE we have a problem bigger than our efforts to change, and REJECT the behavior (be so sorry for it, sick of it) and be willing to do whatever it would take to change it and break free.
These two “REs” are non-negotiables because they are what takes us to a place of asking God for help.
I hear you…”But Dave, I pray to God all the time about this!”. “I’ve admitted my mistakes and I’m so sorry!” “Even if God could forgive me, and I’m not sure He would, I can’t forgive myself!” Or…”I’ll never be able to forgive that person!”
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow(“sorry!), which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. Just see what the godly sorrow produced in you…you have done everything necessary to make things right.” (2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NLT)
How does God ask us to pray about our “sorry”? He says I want to meet you at this point and be right with you again so we can move forward in freedom together. The very personal God, who desires close fellowship with His children, makes a way to be RIGHT with Him! It’s our third “RE” – REPENTANCE.
“But if we are living in the light as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from sin….if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:7,9 NLT)
Godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to cleansing. To be cleansed is to be made what scripture says is “White as snow’, casting our sins “into the deepest sea…never to be remembered again”, thrown away “as far as the east is from the west”. When we are right with God we have experienced what only He can do…He gives us a complete RE-DO! A clean slate.
Repentance is a gift from God to give us a way to walk in sweet, intimate closeness with Him through whatever we go through. Good days or bad, failures or successes, when we’ve sinned or been sinned against.
Repentance is not a simple “God answer”. It is our lifeline! And it sets the stage for us to begin to live in the Rightness God intends so we can do the 4th “RE”: REPLACE.
The apostle Paul was a bad dude when he was Saul, a Christian killer. As he later walked in the Christ-Life, he said he was once “slave to sin” but now he was “slave to righteousness”. How did that happen?!
We’ll talk about those transformational Spiritual Next Steps. Stay tuned.
By Dave Galbraith, BreakThrough Moments