Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
Yesterday we talked about the first step to take if we want to fight against our sinful nature and experience a seismic shift in our faith walk. Today, I want us to look at two more steps we can take in this divine direction.
The second we must take if we want to see a seismic shift is that we must sincerely regret our sin. Anybody with any conscience at all will regret when they do something wrong, especially when they hurt someone else. Paul wisely points out there are two different kinds of sorrow over sin. There are two different types of guilt-trips. One puts you on the freeway of forgiveness and the other one is a dead-end to death.
God doesn’t want you feeling sorry for yourself. He wants you feeling sorry for your sin. We tend to look at sin for what it does to us. When we should be looking at sin for what it does to God. The words “godly-grief” in the original language is literally, “and according-to-God grief.” Godly grief has God as its focus. Let me put it this way. Worldly grief says, “Oops...I broke the law.” Godly grief says, “Oh God...I broke Your heart.” There is a difference between tears that leave you where you are and tears that move you where you need to be.
Finally, the third step we can take is full repent of our sin. Repentance involves conviction. You can be genuinely convinced you’ve done wrong and convicted that you’ve done wrong, but that is still not repentance. Repentance includes confession, but you can confess your sin and still not repent. Repentance includes contrition. You can genuinely feel sorry and be grieved over your sin, over hurting someone, over doing something wrong, but that alone is not repentance.
Real repentance always includes change. There is an intellectual change. The word “repent” as you may know means to “change one’s mind.” When you truly repent you change your mind about God, about Jesus, about sin and about yourself. It is not a solely intellectual issue. Even Judas changed his mind, but repentance is not just a change of mind, but a change of heart.
Dear Lord, I want to be broken over my sin. I want to experience the godly sorrow that Paul talks about. Help me to feel regret over my sin so that I understand how important it is to walk away from it. And then help me to repent and choose your path over my own selfish desires when I am tempted. In Jesus’ name, amen.