On a morning and nightly basis I have a time with God where He and I deal with my sin. It’s not a long time, but it’s crucial. Last night as I laid down I asked the Holy Spirit to bring anything to mind where my heart was not right: any rebellion, any misaligned thoughts and motivations, any sins of omission (things I should have done, but refused to do.)
He quickly reveals any sin to me and I humbly lay it all down and repent. Many have the misconception that repentance is just telling God your sorry or that it’s just a one-time thing when you first get saved. Repentance should actually be a daily discipline so that our heart remains tender to God. I see Repentance as having four characteristics:
1. Confession: Whether verbally said aloud or acknowledged in the heart to God, here repentance is acknowledging our sin before God. It’s owning it: “Yes, I did this. I’ve sinned against you when I _(fill in the blank_).” This gets us past making excuses by either blaming someone else or our circumstance.
2. Spiritual: It’s not enough to say: “I was wrong, I feel bad, please forgive me.” Confession alone is not repentance. Repentance is truly coming to a place of removing our affections from our rebellion > hating it >betraying it > turning our back on it and walking out. It’s about seeing our sin in the light of Jesus and spiritually ripping it down from its place of prominence in our heart and putting Jesus back in HIS rightful place in our Heart.
3. Practical: So we’ve confessed, spiritually turned our back on our sin, now it’s time to reject our sin practically. If repentance is turning our back on sin what does that mean practically in our everyday lives? It means if there is anything of a tangible nature to it, we deal with it. It can be easy for us to miss this third part of repentance and fall into the trap of managing our sin instead of killing it.
Tangible examples: Not going back to a “place” where we’re prone to sin, leaving a relationship that’s dragging you down (I do not mean a spouse here), getting rid of some phone numbers of people that we sin with, getting rid of any tangible items or resources that are an avenue of sinning. For example, let’s say that I’ve been falling into the sin of lust by watching inappropriate movies that I own. Should I keep them? Is it worth it if they’re causing me to sin? No! I trash them. Satan would love us to believe the lie that we can “repent” without having to change our lifestyle.
Listen to Jesus here:
Matthew 5:28–31 (ESV)
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Tear your eye out??? That’s a bit over the top….right? Jesus is using a hyperbole. He doesn’t literally mean tear your eye out. He’s making an extreme statement to make a point. Be ruthless with your sin! Make war with it!
4. Relational: If in our sin we’ve sinned against another person we need to go them “own it” and ask forgiveness. This could also mean that you feel someone has sinned against you and you’re carrying an offence against them and they don’t even know it. Go to them right away. Do this in a timely manner otherwise you’ll end up making excusing and rationalizing about how “it’s not a big deal and I don’t really need go to them.” Go!
Keeping your heart tender through repentance should be a daily spiritual discipline. Allow this soul scrubbing in your life to be life giving as you turn your back on your sin and embrace the one who paid an incredible price so that you could be a new creation in Him.
What about you? What are some ways that you deal with your sin as a Christian? Would you share below?