When we sin we are to ask God for forgiveness, repent (turn away from our sin), then realign our lives in obedience to God. But at times sin can be difficult to repent from. Paul tells us that our flesh wants us to do what our Spirit doesn’t want us to do. But the very thing we don’t want to do, we keep on doing. So how do we know if we have truly repented and are not just saying that we have, all the while, biding our time for the next opportunity to sin? In second Corinthians 7:9 Paul says:
"Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us."
This is in reference to a letter Paul sent to the Corinthians. A letter that convicted them of their sin. He says that their sorrow led them to repentance. When you sin, how sorry are you about your actions? Does it lead you to repentance? Paul suggests that God intends for us to become sorrowful because of our sinful actions. Through the Holy Spirit we are convicted, and through our sorrow, we repent. So I challenge you to consider how sorry you really are when you realizeyou’ve sinned. Is it your sorrow that leads you to repentance? Or is your heart disconnected from the Spirit where true conviction takes place?
Repentance is a tricky thing. Jesus tells the woman who was about to be stoned, to go and sin no more. But when we repent do we follow that example? If you do, then great. God wants our sorrow to lead us to true repentance. But if you still struggle with a certain area of sin, remember that you can’t free yourself on your own, it is the Holy Spirit who aids us in the fight. If your sorrow leads you to repentance – even if you have to confess over and over again, I believe God is still working his plan in you. But if you are not truly sorry and are not really brought to the point of true repentance, then I encourage you to examine your heart. Ask God to give you eyes to see your sin the way that he sees it. When that happens, I’m confident that you will find a sorrow that leads to repentance.