Holy Spirit gives three things to do when we find ourselves having fallen into sin . . . again. He said we must confess. And we must repent. And then he said something a bit unexpected. He said we must accept His love.
We’re all familiar with the first two steps. Confession—being honest and owning our mistakes. And repentance—turning from our sinful ways and being willing to do what it takes to try to avoid doing these things again. These first two steps are front and center to the decisions we make, and what happens in our hearts, when we decide to follow Jesus. We’ll continue having to confess and repent for our whole lives, but it was through confessing and repenting and believing in Jesus that we began following Him. So, as hard as they may be, we’re all familiar with them. To even be followers of Jesus, we’ve necessarily and genuinely confessed and repented—to some extent.
But it’s not so with the third step—accepting the love of God, even after we’ve blown it, again. There are lots of followers of Jesus out there—mature followers—who have very little understanding of the nature and the depth and the breadth of God’s love. Because the very idea of His love is radical and counterintuitive. And so, there are lots of followers of Jesus who struggle mightily with accepting it and allowing Him to love them.
When we’ve blown it, and we’re always blowing it, our human brains demand justice—upon us. Our brains demand penance. They demand consequences. And there very well may be physical-world consequences for our sinful behavior. But our human brains assume that among those consequences must be a diminishment in God’s love. There just has to be, we assume. Because for Him to accept us, for Him to love us, for Him to want to be with us when we’ve just done something we’re ashamed of—it makes no sense.
So, while we may confess, and we may even repent, we rarely, if ever, feel like running right into the arms of our Father in the moments immediately after, or even during, our sinful actions. We rarely, if ever, welcome the presence of Jesus in those moments. We rarely, if ever, ask for the power of Holy Spirit to flow into us and into the immediate situation.
What we usually do is withdraw for a time. We tend to want to avoid God until we feel better about ourselves—until some time has gone by, or until we’ve done some things, some [quote] good things, in order to offset our sinful behavior. The effect of this approach, though—this approach that is intuitive and comes so naturally—is that we cut ourselves off from God and from His grace right when we need them most. We avoid what we need most, right when we need it most.
Because here’s the no-so-secret secret—it’s God’s grace: It’s His power that changes us, that kills sin, not what we do under our own power. So, if we’re cutting ourselves off from grace when we need it most, no wonder we’re still struggling with the same old sins!
So what can we do, if accepting His love is difficult?
Join us for “The Greatest Change of Heart.”