So far we have looked at our Time, our Habits, and our Identity. Today is Part 4 of 6 in our acronym T.H.I.R.S.T., and we will be looking at the ‘R’ which stands for, “Repent.” As a reminder our verse has been John 6:35 and our focus is to “Never Thirst.” To be satisfied in Jesus Christ is to “never thirst” for other things this world has to offer, but finding life and satisfaction in him alone.
I have been amazed at the amount of time and energy I have spent involved in immorality. I am likewise amazed at how many times I have repented with little or no results. Deep repentance is the key to walking in complete and total victory over immorality. Although I spent much time and energy “repenting,” why was there never a change of heart and mind? The answer lies right at the heart of my weak view of repentance. First, the repentance I had was superficial, weak, more of a sorrow of disappointment, lacking in true zeal to change. But if you would have questioned my motives back then, I would have come at you with a vengeance, anger and with great persuasion that my turning was genuine. They say “hindsight” is 20/20, but I believe it’s more telescopic! I would have been in great error because I was in great deception. The reason my repentance was so weak and superficial was the timing of repentance. The timing was after viewing pornography and “gratifying the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). I would go into what seemed to be a “form of godliness” and a sorrow over sin but it never produced any power or freedom over the sin (2 Timothy 3:5). No!, repentance must come before the gratifying of the flesh. This is also what it means to “crucify” the flesh with it’s passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). Repentance is deep and meaningful. It’s a coming to your senses. It’s turning from sin to the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). It’s falling on your face before the King of king’s and Lord of lord’s! It’s crying out from a heart that is deeply sorry for hurting the heart of God. This is what produces change. Not a whimpering of sorrows and self indulgence. Not in weakness of broken promises. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). The sign of true repentance is the one who is linear in his pursuit of God. The sign of a lack of repentance is the one who is circular between his sorrows and his sin.
This is the heart of repentance King David had after being confronted about his sin with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Author: Erick Hurt
From a slave to sin–to freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1). From an abusive husband verbally and physically–to loving my wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Now an Elder at Family Bible Church, I speak, teach, and preach with the same passion I once had for sin. I work as a volunteer for Setting Captives Free ministry as a mentor and mentor coordinator helping people become freed from the grip of sin. Visit www.settingcaptivesfree.com.