Are you angry or frustrated because of other people’s behavior, trying to act the way you think a “Christian” should act, hiding your true feelings, agonizing on the inside?
Maybe you’re spending hours talking your problem out with a professional or a trusted friend. They listen, and you feel better because you have talked things through, but you don’t really experience lasting peace. The professional or your friend may be telling you that you just need to readjust your environment to find peace. That may be true, but it’s also true that you need to deal with what is inside of you. What are you holding on to?
One of the toughest things to do when we’re wrong is to admit fault to ourselves, and admit to the Lord that we’ve sinned. Sin is not a very popular word these days, and it’s an even harder behavior to admit when it is your own. But the good news is that sin is the simplest thing to deal with!
The victory message of the Church today is found in the Bible: Jesus Christ came to this earth to die for your sins and to enable you to walk in the Spirit. The question is: How can you free yourself from sin?
Freeing yourself from sin involves repentance, and repentance can be broken down into five practical steps.
The first step is to admit and say to God, “I’m wrong.” King David knew he was wrong when he committed adultery. But until that reality moved from his head to his heart, he didn’t want to repent. Human nature hasn’t changed. Before you can move to the next step, you need to admit your sin to God.
Step two is saying to God, “I’m sorry.” However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t simply telling God you’re sorry in order to make yourself feel better. It’s saying, “I’m sorry God,” and really meaning it. According to 2 Corinthians 7:9-13, “The world’s sorrow brings death, but a Godly sorrow brings life.”
Step three follows: “God, forgive me.” Not, “God forgive me because I feel guilty, and I don’t like that feeling.” That’s not repentance; that’s just wanting to feel better. You need to say from your heart, “God, forgive me for the wrong that I’ve done.”
And you’ll know God’s forgiveness has come when you are able to go on to the fourth step and can say in all sincerity, “God, cleanse me. I’m not just wanting relief from my sin. I want a change of life. I want you to restore fellowship with me as though I’ve done nothing wrong.” Isn’t that what you really want with your Heavenly Father?
That will lead you into step five, where you admit you can’t walk in the Spirit in your own flesh, and you say “God, I don’t have it in and of myself to be a loving individual in this relationship. I’m at the end of my rope, so please empower me.”
Being empowered is asking God to fill you full of His Spirit where you’ll experience a peace that passes all understanding, and the kind of joy that is humanly impossible to attain. God wants to give you the ability to live a Spirit-filled life in the midst of your difficult situations. Are you willing to allow Him to bring you peace?
Take a step . . .
Memorize Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”[This summary is from Dr Brandt’s message The Heart of the Problem. Click here to listen to the audio or read the transcript.]