In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
March 14, 2008 – God’s Call to Genuine Repentance – 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
On a high shelf sits a clear glass jar half full of cookies, and six-year-old Todd is determined to have one. So when his mom walks into the kitchen a few minutes later, she finds the boy standing on the counter— one arm still in the jar—chewing fast. The first words out of his mouth are, “I’m sorry.” He is obviously sorry mom caught him, and he’s unhappy about the punishment that he expects. But Todd is probably not actually feeling remorseful for eating the cookies.
Believers sometimes approach confession and repentance the same way. In prayer, we get comfortable confessing and expecting forgiveness. Sorrow usually accompanies the guilty admission, and feelings of shame and remorse are labeled as repentance. What we must ask ourselves is, Why are we ashamed? Too often our guilt has shallow roots. We’re sorry to have been caught or sad over the consequences of our actions. At times we are upset that we’ve failed to live up to our own standards of good behavior. But genuine repentance goes deeper than self-reproach; it involves a sense of grief over having wronged God by sinning against Him.
Remorse is not the end of the story. Children of God want to please their heavenly Father, not grieve Him. So the repentant man or woman will feel driven to make a lasting change in attitude or behavior— the choice will be made to forsake the sin and practice obedience. In response to true repentance, the Holy Spirit pours His power and strength into the believer to stand against Satan’s temptation.
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