For a Fresh Start, Begin with Repentance
By Rick Warren
“Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, ‘We have sinned and rebelled’” (Lamentations 3:40-42a NLT, second edition).
The path to a fresh start and a clear conscience begins with repentance. First, review every area of your life, and then repent of every sin.
What does it mean to repent? It means three things: First, you take responsibility for your sin. Second, you turn away from those things. And third, you turn toward God and his grace.
The Bible says, “Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, ‘We have sinned and rebelled’” (Lamentations 3:40-42a NLT, second edition).
Repentance does not mean rationalizing your sin. You don’t say, “It was no big deal.” It was a big deal, or you wouldn’t have remembered it. You don’t say, “It happened so long ago” or “It was just a stage I went through” or “Everybody does it.” It doesn’t matter! You cannot rationalize sin, minimize it, excuse it, or blame others. That is not true repentance.
Pay attention to this: The greatest holdup to the healing of your hang-up is you. You’re not waiting on God; you’re not waiting on anybody else. God wants to heal the hang-up in your life, but the greatest holdup to your hang-up is you.
The Bible says in 1 John 1:8, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (NIV).
Would you like to get rid of the self-defeating habits in your life? You will stop defeating yourself when you stop deceiving yourself. It all starts with gut-level honesty and recognizing that something is wrong, no matter how much you want to rationalize it and excuse it. You need to admit it, confess it, and get it out of your life.
Talk It Over
- What are you pretending not to know? What are you pretending not to feel guilty about? What are you pretending is not a sin?
- Don’t you think it’s time to finally deal with it and get it out of your life? What steps will you take in repentance today?
- What do you think God wants you to do after you’ve repented of your sin?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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