I’ve been going through some rough times as of late, and a question I’ve been asking myself is, what I could have done in my past that may have caused or facilitated this? I know it’s not always the sin in my life or the sins of others, parent’s sins, but I still need to make a moral examination of myself.
Have you ever heard people say when they make a mistake ‘I just need to keep moving forward’?
I hear this all the time and it always makes me uncomfortable. And I know the reason why, I disagree! Any time you have a deficit in your ledger, moving forward without correcting the error only leads to more debt, more problem, until the sin grows out of control. It just continues to snow ball down that hill until its big enough to cause considerable damage, maybe kill and destroy you if left unchecked long enough.
When the Lord shows you that you’ve been going the wrong way, it’s smart to start backing up. To get out of that grove, bad habit, recurring sin, get out of that dishonesty, that compromise, that wrong relationship, that sexual involvement. If Christ is living in your heart, He’s going to begin to make you feel about that sin what He feels, and you’ll know it’s time to change.
God’s word for this attitude of “I’ve got to change this” is repentance. You’re tired of the guilt, you’re tired of the shame, the cover up, the consequences? You’re ready to start heading God’s direction, but you’ve got to back out of that sin. Driving in moral reverse is hard, especially when you’ve been driving full speed ahead to sin in forward gear. And the longer you’ve been running in the wrong direction, the harder it can be.
2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.” God talks about feeling sorry about what we’ve been doing. That’s a good beginning; it makes you decide to shift gears. But, that’s not repentance. Verse 11, “See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourself, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” These people were taking aggressive action, not just feeling bad but taking aggressive action to get to the roots of sin, find the error and get it out of their lives and make things right. We’re talking about an extreme makeover – a thorough clean up here. Not just what you see from the outside, but a deep cleaning from the inside out.
Maybe you’ve been struggling. You’re trying to back out of a sin that you know you need to leave. Let me give you some steps that can help you make that shift a little more smoothly. This has been invaluable to me.
- Make sure you have repented specifically, bringing the specific times you sinned that sin to Jesus Christ. You don’t just repent of the overall general sin. You repent of the specific sins.
- Go back to any people who have been affected by your sin and make things right with them. This closes a circle of repentance and it actually makes it harder for you to return to that sin.
- Analyze what people and what places and what influences weakened you, pressured you into that area, and rubbed off on you. If sin is going to go, you’ve got to get rid of all your sin props and your sin partners. You’ve got to burn the bridges. Don’t go near any situation where you will be tempted to go beyond the limits again. I’m talking get radical here. Don’t worry what others may think. This is serous!
- Get a mature believer, someone who can be trusted, who will hold you accountable, to be your faithful “checker-upper.” The Bible says, “Two are better than one. If one falls down, the other can help him up.” This is not a Sargent to Private relationship, but a mutual desire to be Godly.
Don’t let a failure sink you. No! If you mess up, get up right away and start walking again. Passive repentance won’t set you free, but active, aggressive repentance can start you down victory highway.