Continued from here.
You wake up one day and realize that you have wandered away from God’s will. This might happen gradually through the Holy Spirit’s conviction, as if God is gradually turning up a dimmer switch, and you gradually grow to realize that you have gone off course. Or this can happen suddenly, with the force of a sledgehammer, as you are publicly humiliated by someone accusing you of your shortcomings, catching you completely off guard. Either way, the first step is always the same – repentance.
Repentance is not merely regretting having to experience the consequences of your actions. Many a person has no regrets for what he or she has done, only that he or she was caught doing it. That’s not repentance. Instead, repentance is taking responsibility for having gone off course and making the decision to turn around and return to God.
For example, in my last blog entry, I shared about a time in which I grew weary of waiting for God to meet a need in my life. The enemy held up a juicy red apple, and I went for it, telling God that I was going to do X and that I wanted Him to bless me. I chose to ignore the Holy Spirit’s warnings, and God grew silent. I still prayed, read my Bible, and even led a Bible study during this season, but I was disconnected from God.
As God allowed the consequences of my disobedience to catch up with me, I felt remorse for the consequences but not for the sin. That’s not the same thing as repentance, and God continued to allow the pain of my choices to plague me despite my pleas for forgiveness as I still walked in the wrong direction. God did not intervene until I severed a connection that never should have happened, metaphorically threw myself at His feet, and changed direction. Once I repented, despite a year of consequences, God ran to me and immediately began healing my physical and emotional wounds. He was eager to be reconciled to me, but I had to do it on His terms – in full repentance.
If you have realized that you are off course, regardless of why, ask for God’s forgiveness and for Him to show you what you need to change. Whatever He places on your heart, do it immediately, even if it makes no sense, trusting that He will work this situation for good.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace’s face appearing on a letter that says, “Please accept my resignation. Sincerely.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]