Sometimes I struggle to repent, at least right away anyway.
Repentance has always been a strange concept to me. I understand the basics–turning from your sin and turning to God–but what does it practically look like?
Often, it feels like there needs to be some sort of holding period after grievous sin before we can turn back for the Lord, as though there was a required amount of time that needs to be spent in prayer or lament of sin before you can actually turn the corner and run after God. But the more I think about it, I think we have missed the mark.
Confessing your sins before God is important, as is lamenting those sins, but neither are necessarily an extended step in repentance.
Repentance is simply acknowledging that you have sinned and running hard after God in response. There is not any sort of waiting period afterward. We’ve only complicated the process and hampered our effectiveness for the Kingdom in our hesitancy.
We have a tendency to view ourselves as sinful messes that cannot take ourselves to God in our condition. Common heresy believes that we have to “clean ourselves up” before we can go to God. The only way we know how to distance ourselves from sin though is to let time pass since our more convicting sins and allow the wounds they’ve inflicted on our consciousness heal. But while that makes us feel better, the only true way to omit our sin is to take it to the cross. At the cross, our sin was paid for and cannot be counted against us.
And at the cross is Christ! It is not that we cannot take ourselves before God in the wake of our sin and iniquities, but that we must take ourselves to Jesus! Our fear to take our sins to Yahweh is turned on its head as He is the only one who actually can take the sin away! And not only can He take away our sin, but He desperately wants to out of His love for us! Why else would Jesus have taken the punishment of the cross?
The following passage helps clarify the discussion:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
God’s mercies are new each morning. Day by day, we are the only people holding ourselves back from God and doing as He desires. Furthermore, Jeremiah states that “his mercies never come to an end.” That said, Yahweh’s mercies can’t “end” each morning only to begin again the following day. Rather, God imparts mercy moment by moment.
So today, rejoice in God’s mercy moment by moment, and don’t let your sin leave you waiting to enjoy it.