I love the Word of the Lord. It is full of principles and insights that I need for my life every single day. Not a day goes by that I don’t need to hear or read the Word to find out what the Father wants to say to me.
One of the things the Bible teaches believers is to be Spirit-led (Romans 8). This essentially means that we take every one of our decisions, ideas, and actions to the Lord and be led by the Holy Spirit as to whether we move forward in them or not. And part of being led by the Holy Spirit is being disciplined in our devotion to Him. There’s plenty of ways we can practice devotion to God, some of which are more popular than others. We hear all the time that we we should pray, fast, and grow in our faith on a consistent basis, and that in doing so, we will strengthen our spiritual muscles and grow closer to the Lord. This is true and these things are needed in order for us to be stronger believers.
What we don’t hear so much about is repentance.
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We have an initial need for repentence.
The word repent means to turn away from a certain behavior or frame of thinking. Outside of our initial coming to Christ, as well as when we are found in obvious sin, we don’t talk about repentance very much. For some reason or another, repentance is set on the shelf for times when it’s “really needed.”
We hear buzz statements like, “God is love” or “God is a God of grace,” and we accept them. We hold those Scriptures in our hearts and we live our lives with them in mind. However, God’s love and grace is only half the equation. When we don’t understand the importance and impact of repentance on our lives, we actually end up operating in partial Kingdom-power.
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We have a daily need for repentance.
We know our very really need for Jesus for the whole of our lives. For example, I have no idea where or who I’d even be if it weren’t for Jesus saving me and making me whole. Many, if not all of you, would likely say the same.
But what about recognizing our daily need for Jesus? Scripture tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). There’s a reason why God gives us new mercies each day! The Lord knows that our hearts and minds are in a process of growth and full maturity. Because of this process, we have the potential to sin daily and do things that bring a disconnect between us and the Lord. To grow in this process, we need to repent regularly.
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“Repentance helps us to be led by the Spirit.”
I hope I can encourage you to look at your daily walk with the Lord and see the areas where you can have a heart of repentance. God wants to speak to us, be in deeper relationship with us, and use us for amazing things in the earth. But we have to get out of our own way and yield to the redemptive work of Jesus so that we can truly live lives of freedom and power.
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Repent from sins, both known and unknown.
There’s this misconception that the only time we need to repent is when we have known sin in our lives. I think this is the reason why so many people do not add repentance as a part of their regular spiritual discipline. There are thoughts and actions we all have that aren’t inherently sinful, but they draw us away from communion with the Father or from doing something that the Lord has asked us to do. And Scripture tells us that it is sin to know to do something, but not do it (James 4:17).
When we come before God on a daily basis with a repentant heart, we are asking Him to show us the known and unknown things that pull us out of alignment with His will for us. The Holy Spirit is so faithful and brings these things to our understanding so that we can properly repent and turn away from them.
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Let me give you a real life example:
We all have hobbies that we enjoy and that help give us mental breaks from life. One of my favorite hobbies is scrolling on social media (Don’t judge me! Haha). I could spend hours over the course of a day on Facebook and Instagram. Is this sinful? Not really. It just eats up major amounts of time in my day - time that I could be using to be more productive in building my ministry, teaching my daughters, or cleaning my home.
Now, I’m called to be a good steward of the things God has put in my hands. Just recently, iPhones had an update including a feature that tracks the time spent in certain apps. When I saw how much time I was spending on social media, my jaw dropped. I was so convicted.
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“Because of God’s grace, I was able to ask God for repentance and receive it.”
The time that I had to do things that the Lord told me to do was being incredibly mismanaged. Can anyone witness to experiencing this?
In my case, I needed to repent to the Lord for not using my time wisely. Because of God’s grace, I was able to ask God for repentance and receive it. Since to repent means to turn away from a certain behavior or frame of thinking, I had to put time blocks on my social media use, and use that time to be productive.
My sin wasn’t so much that I was using social media. It was that I wasn’t being a good steward of my time and resources.
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Repentance requires us to confess.
A large part of repentance has to do with confession. As I stated above, if repentance is us turning away from a certain thought or action, we need to know what thing we’re turning from so that we’re clear not to do that thing again. This is where confession comes into play. It allows us to identify what it is that we’re repentant for, and why. The enemy is hoping that we don’t confess our sins, but rather that we keep them in our hearts, hidden away.
Confession requires us to be accountable for our actions.
When I was convicted about spending too much time on social media, I told my husband so that he could keep me accountable. Accountability builds a stronger wall of protection against the sin in question. When we share our convictions with the right people, now there is someone else who is aware of what we’re dealing with and they can pray for us and give us wise counsel.
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“It is part of dying to the flesh.”
I’ve heard it said that life’s greatest battles are best fought on our knees in prayer. I believe this with my whole heart. I’ve seen the Lord fight on my behalf and win for me when I’ve chosen to go higher in prayer. With that said, I also believe that we win our days when we stay in a posture of repentance.
Repentance helps us to be led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will often lead us to repent before the Lord as well as before people. It is part of dying to the flesh.
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“Take the time to incorporate repentance into your spiritual discipline.”
I truly hope that you take the time to incorporate repentance into your spiritual discipline. Being more repentant and taking the time to prioritize asking the Holy Spirit about ways we need to repent only makes us sharper, more powerful, and more submitted believers.
Check in with the Holy Spirit more than you may be used to and consider finding a trusted friend to confess your sins and burdens with. Repentance isn’t about seeking to be the perfect Christian. It’s about the posture of our hearts and our will. We want to look more and more like Christ with each day that passes and repentance allows us to do that!
Blessings in abundance to you, friends!
Britnee Bradshaw is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog or via social media @b_brdshw!
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Originally published Wednesday, 24 October 2018.