Those of you who have children will likely know what I mean when I say that raising boys is completely different than raising girls. It is true in many different ways. For example, when my boys misbehaved, they world rarely confess to doing anything wrong, even when caught red-handed. My girl, though, when corrected would always tearfully repent of her wrongdoing – whatever it was – and promise to change. As Christians, we should be more like my girl, ready to repent when we’ve sinned.
Repentance is perhaps the most important aspect of our relationship with God. Without true repentance, there is no salvation. Matthew tells us in chapter 4 that, from the beginning of His ministry, Jesus began to “preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'” (v. 17 NKJV).
On the Day of Pentecost, at the birth of the Church, Peter – filled with the Holy Spirit – preached a moving sermon. Everyone within earshot was cut to the quick. “What do we do?” They asked.
“Repent and be baptized in the name of Christ Jesus for the remission of sins,” Peter answered, “and you will receive the Holy Spirit.”
If repentance was message of Christ, and if repentance was the message of the Apostles, then what role should it play in our lives – me and you, 21st century believers?
Repentance should be central to our relationship with Christ. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that he died daily. As for myself, before I get out of bed in the morning, I lay down my life before the Lord, telling Him that I am a weak and lowly sinner who, without the presence of His Holy Spirit, can never change. And I beg Him to fill me anew and provide the power to make it through another day.
And, if I do sin, I immediately confess it repent of it, and pray for more strength so that I don’t do it again. John, in his first epistle (2:1-2 NKJV) tells us that we should not sin, but indicates that he knows we will.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
And, that’s just it. We are liable to sin; we are only human. But if we fully surrender to God, He will live through us. If He lives through us, then we will find that those same old sins – those ones that always trap us in a snare – we’ll find they no longer tempt us.
Once God deals with the major sins in our life, then He will begin showing us sins that we thought we had kept hidden from Him, or that He didn’t care about. This is how we know that God loves us. He loves us too much to let us continue living in an manner that will rob us of His joy.
God is not a ruthless tyrant who restricts us from all worldly pleasure. On the contrary, He is a loving Father who desires only the best things for His children.
He loves us so much that He carefully watches over us. When we wander, he knows our every step, never letting us out of His sight. He collects all our tears like precious oils (Psalm 56:8).
God is like the dad who takes his child to the playground. He turns loose of the child so she may run and jump and climb and swing (how would she learn to grow, if he didn’t) but he never takes eyes off her, and he’s there to dry her tears if she falls.
I beg of you: confess and repent of your sins, and ask God to fill you with His Spirit, giving you the strength and the love to change, for we are unable to change on our own. He is not an abusive Father; He won’t be angry when you repent. He will try your tears, hold you in His arms, and fill you with the joy of His perfect love. What good father can resist hugging a crying child?