Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. ~Psalm 86:6
It’s easy to be disgusted with ourselves for a repeated sin. In the moment, we swear we will never do this thing again. We forget that we have made the same promise hundreds of times before!
It seems rational to think, “I just won’t put myself in that position again,” or “I won’t go out with that person who is such a bad influence,” until… they call again and we don’t know how to say we really don’t want to be with them. So, we go.
How many ways do we sabotage our own standing before God by failing to exercise self-control, so that we fall into the same trap of doing the same thing, knowing it will bring the same results?
This is where the guilt begins.
This is where our opportunity for freedom enters.
Though we all face different struggles with self-control, a lack of self-control in any area is something we need to think about and deal with to live a life of freedom in Christ.
How is a Christian to deal with the sin that keeps her feeling guilty, rather than bold and busy for the Lord?
It is repentance that will lead us from guilt to the freedom to bear fruit.
Often we are quick to recognize the conviction of sin. We acknowledge we have a problem with certain temptations or desires that we seem to give into frequently (or at least repeatedly). We are even willing to confess these issues as areas we need to “work on.” We may be remorseful but, too often, we don’t repent.
When we repent we don’t just acknowledge something as sin but tell God we see that our behaviors or thoughts do not line up with His, and we turn from them. We allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit to penetrate our hearts and not just our minds. Then, by God’s grace, when the temptation arises, we turn from it, literally if necessary.
- Turn our eyes from looking at worthless things. Psalm 119:37
- Turn away from evil ways and evil things. Proverbs 3:7; Jeremiah 26:3
- Turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God. Acts 26:18
- Turn from our transgressions, lest iniquity be our ruin. Ezekiel 18:30b
- Turn from vain things to the living God. Acts 14:15
One way to achieve freedom for the Christian is to turn from sin by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, so that our God given work will produce fruit, the fruit of repentance. (Matthew 3:8)
When we acknowledge sin we feel guilty. Guilt bears no fruit.
When we repent of sin we change by God’s grace, we are free to bear fruit.
Rather than just acknowledging sin and feeling awful, let’s do something different. Repent, feel the freedom, and bear fruit. That freedom comes from repentance.
When we repent, we go from guilt to grace.