5. I Am Guilty

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We Need to Repent

Once we see how much we need God in our lives, we begin to realize how helpless we are without Him. There is only one way our lives can be turned around, and that way is through Jesus. But what do we need to do to have Christ in our lives? How can we be made right with God? God's Word tells us that we must repent of our sins.

What Is Repentance?

Repentance is being sorry for sin and turning away from it. In order to be truly sorry for our sins we need to understand the cruel and destructive power of sin. Until we come to despise sin, there won't be a real life change. Many don't understand repentance. They make outward changes because they're afraid of the consequences of doing wrong. But that is not true repentance. They may feel guilty, but their attitudes haven't changed. They are not sad about the pain they have caused Jesus. Their guilt is totally self-focused.

True repentance involves a complete change of attitude. It is based on a relationship with God, not in our own self-preservation. God gave us all a conscience to help us know what is right and wrong. If we listen to God, our conscience will let us know that we are sinners. Sin makes us feel guilty. Sometimes we think that what we need is to get rid of the guilt. But what we really need to do is to get rid of the sin. That's the only way we can find true peace. And that's what repentance is all about.

We Can't Repent on Our Own

God is so good to us! He knows how weak we are. He knows we can't even feel sorry about our sins without His help. And so He gives us repentance as a gift. Don't wait to come to Jesus until you have repented. Come to Him first, and He will give you a repentant heart. It is His power that even puts the desire to repent within you. You can no more repent without Christ's power than you can be forgiven without it. He is the only One who can bring us to hate sin. Every good desire comes from His Spirit.

How Does God Do It?

How is this repentant heart created within us? It is by love that God draws us to Himself. When we understand the love of God for us and appreciate the sacrifice of Christ for our sins, our hearts are softened. We become open and receptive to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. We become impressed with the tender mercy and goodness of God in giving Jesus to us. This causes us to understand how it was our sins that crucified the innocent One on the cross. The love that wells up in our hearts for Jesus also causes us to be sorry for what we have done to Him. This brings the awareness of how much we need pardon.

When God reveals all of this to us, we have a choice to make. We can resist and refuse to accept the gift of repentance, or we can let our hearts be broken in sorrow for our sins. God is speaking to each one of us to create a craving for something we don't have. God longs to bring us the peace and joy that can be found only in holiness. Don't you feel that lack of satisfaction and emptiness within your own heart? Are you longing for something better than this world offers? This is God's voice speaking to you.

Ask God for a Repentant Heart

Respond to the call. Come to Jesus and ask Him to give you a repentant heart. Ask God to reveal Christ's love to you.

Jesus was full of unselfish love and benevolence. As God reveals this love to us, we begin to understand how selfish we are. We may have congratulated ourselves on our good morals and deeds and think that we don't need to humble ourselves, but when the light from Christ shines into our souls, we see how basically impure and unholy we are. We see our pride, our greed, our rebellion against God that has defiled every act of life. Then we know that any good that we thought we possessed is quite unacceptable and downright disgusting.

Jesus alone can make us clean and pure and change us to be like Him. All we need is for one ray of the glory of God to penetrate the soul and it will reveal every ugly spot and defect. Our evil desires, our unfaithfulness, and our impurity will be made painfully distinct. All our excuses will fade away. There will be no attempt to justify ourselves. We will no longer pat ourselves on the back for our goodness. When we see the beauty of God's holiness, we come to despise our evil hearts and seek for the purity of God's character.

Don't Procrastinate!

Beware of procrastination. Don't wait until you're "good enough." You can't become better by your own efforts. Come just as you are. Life is short and uncertain. It is dangerous to wait until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.

Don't think sin is a small thing. Every neglect, every rebellious act makes it more difficult for you to respond to the tender pleading of God's Holy Spirit. Many quiet their troubled consciences by telling themselves that they can change their evil habits whenever they want.

The only problem is, if they continue to resist the voice of the Holy Spirit, they numb their conscience so that the conviction ceases to be felt. After a long period of time in establishing evil habits, they become more difficult to break. The character becomes set and they have no desire to change. Even one small sin, if it is stubbornly held, will eventually block the power of God to change the life. Sin forms chains which can hinder our freedom of choice.

It is never safe to play with sin. Christ can set us free, but He will never go against our will. If we stubbornly persist in sinning and refuse to let Him change us, He will not force us. We have destroyed ourselves by our determined rejection of His love.

The Lord knows our hearts; He reads our motives. Go to him with all your struggles, concerns, and guilt. Ask Him to reveal your sins to you. This is not a casual issue. Be as earnest and persistent as if your physical life were in danger. This is a matter of life or death, because your eternal destiny is at stake. Don't accept a superficial hope. Study God's Word prayerfully. In it you will see the principles of God's kingdom as demonstrated in Christ's life. The Bible will reveal your sin to you and show you how to live.

Take Time to Listen to God Speak

If you will listen, God will speak to your soul. As you see how great your sin is, don't become overwhelmed with despair. Christ came to save sinners. We don't have to earn His love; He already loves us! Our heavenly Father sent Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. He is endeavoring to win our respect, our trust, our affections. He is patiently and tenderly calling. No human parent could be as patient with the faults and mistakes of his children as God is with us. No one could plead more tenderly than God does with the sinner. All of His promises and even His warnings are flowing from His heart of love.

Satan will be right there to tell you that you are too great a sinner. Don't listen to him. Instead, look to Jesus and focus on what He has done for you. While you need to acknowledge that you are a sinner, you can tell the enemy, "Christ came into the world to save sinners!" What He did for us is sufficient. Your heart will melt in the true spirit of repentance when you let God show how much He loves you.