We can all struggle to know what true repentance from sin looks like. 2 Corinthians 7:10 identifies two types of sorrow. If we are truly convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit, we will be grieved by our past actions to the point of doing everything we can to fight against sin. On the other hand, worldly sorrow means that we are sorry we got caught. We are sorry for the consequences we may be suffering. In this type of sorrow we are primarily focused on thoughts that might say, “I screwed up again, and now everyone knows it.”
In godly grief, we are sorry that we have offended a holy God who is our loving Creator. When this happens, we are able to embrace the restrictions imposed on us that help us to stay on the path of transformation.
3 Evidences of True Repentance
- Submissive Spirit
Responsibility is critical to successful transformation. It is a fruit that demonstrates that a genuine change of heart has occurred. Responsibility for our actions shows that we are beginning to become more honest and transparent in our behavior. As responsible people, we take precautions to avoid temptation and any appearance of evil. A responsible person is one who owns his or her sin and calls the problem what the Lord calls it. If God calls it sin, we must agree to call it sin and confess our thoughts, words, and actions as sinful. When we do, we find mercy in the love of Christ. It is so much better to proactively confess sins, faults, and mistakes than to reactively admit them after being confronted by someone.
It is as 1 John 1:9-10 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
True confession and repentance reflects a heart that desires accountability. It is a heart that wants someone to speak into one’s life and help it to grow in this area of struggle. It is a heart that longs to please God. When we are responsible, we take preventive measures to ensure that we do not get tempted to partake in the things that got us in trouble before. When you are responsible, you confess your sin, ask for forgiveness, and have repentant actions that match your confession of guilt.
Gratitude is the second evident fruit of repentance. The grateful Christian will be overjoyed at the goodness of God, causing their words to pour out grace to other people. The repentant person is thankful for everything, including the good and the bad that has happened to them.
The third evidence of repentance and change in a Christian’s life is an attitude of being submissive. Submission is an extremely difficult area for any person to address because of the natural rebellion that rules the sinner’s heart. Americans often view authority as oppressive, and generally have a negative view of authority primarily because the culture fosters the idea that “you are the final authority in anything that pertains to you.” Satan also propagates the lie that God’s authority is not a good and loving authority. Satan has been promoting this lie since Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1-5. Do not believe the lie that the authority you have given yourself is as good as God’s authority over you.
As transformed people, we are now teachable and willing, and this will be evidenced in a submissive spirit.
What fills your heart with the most gratitude? I look forward to hearing from you.