When I deliberately sin against God, the first thing to settle in is sadness. I'm sad that I wasn't strong enough to deny myself, sad that I disrespected God, sad that our relationship has suddenly ground to a halt. Or has it? A heavy, lonely feeling pushes its way into my personal space & tells me I can't talk to God, I can't long for Him & I shouldn't bother trying. Afterall, He won't have anything to do with me & my selfish, sinful heart. I should be ashamed of myself. And I am.
Sometimes during the day, I catch myself praying, singing, wanting to relate to God like normal & an angry feeling suddenly entangles me, gets in my face & says, No way, sister, you & God aren't talking. Even if you repent, you know you don't mean it- you're just doing it so you can be at peace with your own sorry self. You really don't give a rip about God. And maybe that's true.
The bible says to settle an argument quickly with your accuser or else you could be taken to the judge, thrown into jail & doomed to stay until the last penny is paid... Who is my accuser? Is it God? No. Is it the devil? It could be... but given that the heart is deceitful above all things, I would venture to say the accuser is actually me most of the time. There's an argument within me, between what I feel & what I know. I know that if God loved me even before I knew Him- even when I was -gasp- a "sinner", and if nothing can separate me from His love now that I'm called by His name, there's no reason to hide myself away. Yet I feel that I have no recourse BUT to hide myself away, & no amount of repentance or penance could take away my shame. I'm sure God has "had it up to here" with me & my last infraction just broke the camel's back.
What happens if I don't settle this with my accuser? I'll be taken captive by the injustice of these false accusations. I'll be sentenced to a life striving for God's approval, trying to pay a debt I'll forever owe. If I settle with my accuser however, I let the Word defend me. And this is what the Word tells me: "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death". "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord". "Repent and believe the good news!" What's the good news? I don't have to go to "prison" & pound out license plates to win God's approval. I don't have to pay the insurmountable debt I owe. Jesus paid it for me. I owe nothing & nothing can separate me from His love. And yes, that's good news. Dang, I make repentance so much harder than its meant to be...
Romans 8:39, Matthew 5:25, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Acts 3:19 Mark 1:15