Keeping repentance at the forefront of your conscience.
For most Christians, being a follower of Christ clearly means that there was a specific time in one’s life when everything changed. This change is most often dramatic and it leaves a lasting imprint on someone’s life. I have met countless people who have testified to this powerful experience and it is so amazing to hear testimonies of God’s power to give sinners a second chance and crown their future with hope, purpose, and fulfillment beyond human comprehension. Repentance is the key to real Christianity but it goes much deeper than most people think. We are not to repent once but on a daily basis and this is where a lot of us miss the point of it all. I used to think myself that once I have repented and started living a different life than before, I didn’t need to worry about the old me. I was certain that as far as I was faithful in living my life away from the things of the world, such as secular music and movies, ungodly friendships, and culture-relevant mass media- I was headed for victory. I carefully pinned down all the negative outside influences and felt enthusiastic about my obedience. While external factors contribute to the things that influence us, the factors that destroy our relationship with God are also internal. Little did I know that I had to fight the flesh inside me that disguised itself as offense-less most of the time because the sinful nature within each of us has a sly way of proving its point and defending itself. If we want to live an undefiled existence, we need to start from within. It goes deeper than just steering away outwardly- it is an aggressive pursuit of obedience to the Word of God. In order to experience the nearness and blessing of God upon our lives we need to live in a continual state of repentance. You would be surprised what hides amongst your thoughts if you tried monitoring your thinking for one day. We need to allow the Spirit of God to show us our sinfulness because we are often so unaware of the darkness that hides inside our heart. A practical way to do this is by making a habit of bringing every thought under the leadership of the Spirit by taking the time to fight against evil impulses of any kind. The Bible urges us to turn away from anything that even seems remotely evil and I don’t know what could be a better definition of repentance that that! It is so important to take time during work or school breaks in order to examine your thoughts and sincerely ask God to forgive and cleanse us of every unrighteousness. This is especially imperative if you are currently involved in a full-time schedule. We will never be able to live in the power, freedom, and victory of an undefiled life and enjoy the amazing benefits of God’s presence through the guidance of the Spirit if we are unwilling to set aside a specific time during the day when we can draw near to God undistractedly through reading or listening to the Bible, expressing our requests and praise through prayer, and taking time to read enriching Christian literature. It is so easy to lose the beauty of God’s closeness as the years go by and to become comfortable with sin. Keep in mind that a lifestyle of purity is the result of intricate repentance, which simply means turning away from even the smallest hint of sin and not just setting aside time for God but setting yourself apart by taking every thought captive, which means choosing your thoughts and actions carefully- we are to abide in purity and flee from sin as soon as it knocks on the door of our conscience. God’s desire for us is to grow in our intimacy with Him and He delights in giving us victory over every kind of evil! All we must do is be willing to repent. A pure heart is one that finds sin to be strange and even tormenting. When was the last time sin made you feel that way? Could you be missing out on God’s very best for you? Take some time to sincerely examine your life today. Repentance starts with being honest with God.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV