Updated: Jul 24, 2018
Christians know they need to repent because they carry the guilt of their actions. This is where people run into trouble. Sometimes it takes a while to actually ask God for forgiveness.
Eventually, you realize you'll feel so much better by laying out everything before God. He wants you to confess sin because carrying it around stops up your spiritual reservoir. Every time you're quick to admit sin, you fast track your relationship with God.
What Does Repent Mean?
A quick definition of repentance is you feel remorse about a wrongdoing and want to get it off your chest. In a perfect world, honesty should be easy. Isn't it human nature to drag your feet a while? Your helper, The Holy Spirit, gives you gentle nudges. He brings to mind thoughts of ill will towards someone or hurtful words you said in haste.
When you have a heart of repentance, you run from evil as fast as possible. The reason? You know your actions don't please God and He doesn't fellowship with anyone who dances with evil. You feel at ease in the presence of a Holy God who exemplifies all things good.
Even though Jesus covered your sin with His death, bad behavior leads to feelings of remorse. So what's your next step?
How Do You Repent?
Sin is big no matter how you look at it, especially when you've messed up with God for the umpteenth time.
A penitent heart revolves around Saint Paul's teaching in 2 Corinthians 7:10-13 acknowledging Godly sorrow that leads to repentance and happiness. (The Message translation): "And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart.
And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That’s what happened—and we felt just great."
Why Don't People Repent Right Away?
Sweeping dirt under a rug is how some people clean their houses. You and I do the same thing when we dismiss sin from our minds so it's out of sight. That doesn't work. We carry it around with a nagging feeling that something isn't up to snuff in our spiritual houses.
What's the solution?
Obey inner promptings to take care of business with God promptly in a posture of obedience and reverence. Clean your spiritual house at the first sight of dirt and you'll replace a sorrowful attitude with joy.
Have you ever watched children display feelings of guilt when breaking a window or other object? When parents discover the breakage, a child's inclination is to please their parents. A wise parent extends mercy quickly and uses wisdom in correcting the child. Once children see they're forgiven and loved, they go back to playing.
That's exactly how God wants you to come to Him. Confess the sin, receive God's pardon, release any guilt, and go about your tasks joyfully. The longer you and I bemoan our sins, stay angry for messing up, and rehearse the event, we prolong coming to a loving Father who restores faith.
What Fruit Is Available When You Repent?
The number one fruit on my list is that satan (yep, I don't capitalize his name) stays in his cesspool of evil far away from me. He's the instigator of trouble and the teller of lies. He brings destruction and loves seeing us sorrowful, fearful, and weighed down by life.
When you repent quickly, you keep him locked out of your spiritual house.
Your face glows and you have a posture and gait that's determined when you free your soul from sin. Getting dirt into the open, cleanses filth from the inside to free you from oppression. For example, pigs love squalor. Rather than stand knee-deep in mud (sin), you and I can run to God quickly. We say goodbye to tears and inward groanings that keep us bound and powerless.
Fling your entire being into the hands of God who is capable of removing remorse and guilt. A heart full of unconfessed sin lends to grief and mourning and ushers in all kinds of spiritual malady. Any sin you harbor, drives a stake between you and God. Repentance keeps you in God's presence. You stay connected to the greatest counselor you'll ever have to confront problems.
Christians enjoy the fruit of salvation and are sorry when they sin. See 2 Corinthians 5:17 that explains how a believer becomes a totally different person and people notice. After conversion, Christians reflect more on attitudes and behavior and are free from an evil conscience as described in Hebrews 10:22.
Here Is Another Free Gift From God
Just as salvation is free to anyone that accepts Jesus as Lord, the same is true for repentance. I'm too grateful for God's mercy to not repent. Christians cultivate the presence of a repentant heart. They are penitent when they step across the line of righteousness and don't live a life pleasing to God.
Does that mean you see God holding a big stick to knock you over the head? Hardly. The foundational principle that separates you as a Christian from others is your allegiance to the God of the universe. Your creator is extremely kind, gentle, and loving. You can come to Him, repent and start fresh.
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