In order to start talking about the steps of repentance, I want to share a story with you. Recently, my husband and I drove to Florida and on our way stopped to see family in Atlanta. The directions we had said to take 20 East. Well, there was a major interstate in the middle of Atlanta called 20 East. So, we took that road. After driving for 30 minutes on that road, we realized it was probably not the right road.
I called our family and sure enough we had taken the wrong 20 East. There is also a 20 East north of Atlanta that we should have taken. We ended up driving an hour out of the way! We needed to turn around. Once we realized we were going the wrong direction, it wouldn't have made sense for us to keep driving in the same direction. It would have just taken us farther and farther from our destination.
Just like we needed to turn around because we got off track driving, if you're going in the wrong direction in your sexual choices, it's time to turn around.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
When we got lost, our first step was to admit we were lost to our family and ask for directions to get back on track.
In the same way, the first step to addressing your issue (depression, poor sexual choices, etc.) is confession - admitting that you've ended up in a place you never intended to go (sexually or otherwise).
Confession goes hand in hand with asking forgiveness. Usually you need to not only forgive those who have wronged you and ask God for forgiveness, but also forgive yourself.
Once you’ve admitted where you are and that you are not going in the direction you want, the next step is to turn around. Another word for this is repentance.
Repentance isn't a popular word these days. Our culture encourages us to do whatever we want when we want. TV, music videos and movies very rarely show the consequences of poor sexual choices, they just show the fun and cool side of sex. But, God asks us to "go and sin no more" (John 8:11).
Basically, repentance means to stop doing what we’re currently doing and start doing something different.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninty-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Luke 15:7
An interesting thing to note, is that the word in that verse, repent, means "to change one's mind for the better" in the original Greek language (1). I think that's a pretty good explanation of repentance....to change your mind for something better, something different.
I believe the same is true in your life. When you are truly ready to repent, you will change. You will need to change “the ingredients and recipe” you’ve been using in the past.
Maybe this means you’ll begin listening to different music….music that is positive instead of music that has depressing lyrics and just brings you down further.
Maybe you’ll change your friends.
One thing is for sure. You’ll begin to want to begin filling your mind with God’s word and spending more time hanging out with Him and His son, Jesus.
It’s hard to change. I know. I’ve been there….walking down the wrong path and needing to make a U-turn. It didn’t happen overnight for me. At first I didn’t want to pray or read the bible. I had no desire. But, I slowly began changing the ingredients in my life. I started to dress and act differently. I began spending more time with God than I did shopping (yes, I am a recovering shopaholic!). I began memorizing God’s word to help me overcome my struggles. The list goes on and on…..
But, within one year, I was able to look back on my life and could see how I was a completely different person. My husband could see it. My family could see it. My friend could see it.
When you truly repent and change, people will notice. You will be different.
Realize that different isn’t always bad. Different can be good. When I decided to change, I began to see good things happen.
And in their place entered a freedom, security and love that I can’t even express in words.
I love this song by Jeremy Camp. It was really meaningful to me during the time in my life where I was coming back to God. It is such a great reminder that God says to us, "I'll take you back, always."
Are you ready to make a change in your life? If so, let me know. I want to be able to support you and pray for you. We need each other.
I look forward to hearing from you. Even though I don’t know your name or what you look like, I am praying for you, praying for each visitor to this website.
I believe God has a purpose and plan for you life. How do I know this? He tells me this in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.
Shelley has a heart for teen girls that began from her own journey of finding her true beauty in Christ. She is currently serving God by helping other Christians learn to let their light shine.
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1) Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for metanoeō (Strong's 3340)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2007. 21 Dec 2007.
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