By Melissa McLaughlin
Months ago, I promised myself and God that I would stick to my new early morning plan.
My morning goal is to sit down for prayer and Bible reading before even touching the phone, TV, or computer. That day, I only intended to check the weather, but instead, I found myself scrolling through mindless information on my phone. Somehow a quick peek at the weather app became a time waster and a distraction from the God who determines the weather!
I felt disappointed. Falling back into a bad habit. Reaching for my phone instead of my Bible.
Some bad habits or repetitive sins can be tough to break.
Maybe it’s snapping back at the grouchy store clerk. Maybe it’s shouting at the car who cut you off. Maybe it’s choosing foods, drinks, drugs, or ungodly relationships to bring us comfort or affirmation. Maybe it’s prioritizing screen time over the Lord.
Many times we make excuses for our sins. It’s not that bad. Other people do it.
But what is God’s heart on this matter?
God’s Word tells us that anything not pleasing to Him ultimately separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2). Though it may sound small, sin can add a great distance between our hearts and God’s heart.
How do we respond to sin?
What do we do with sin? First of all, we remember, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Thank God, we have a Savior! Though we are saved by our faith in Jesus, we still battle against sin until we are in heaven.
Should we just give up and give in?
God is the One who decides what is right and what is wrong. Yes, we are all sinners, that’s why God sent Jesus. But He asks us to repent of sin, not defend, celebrate, coddle, or make excuses for sin.
When Jesus confronted the woman caught in adultery, He did not condemn her but said go and sin no more (John 8:11). We must say the same to ourselves.
As Jesus’ followers, we are not “sinless,” but we strive to “sin less.” In the Lord’s Prayer or Model Prayer, Jesus taught us to daily confess our sins to the Lord and receive His daily cleansing (Matthew 6:5-15). Asking God to search our hearts and forgive us of sin each day cuts off the power of sin and temptation. Sins that may begin as a foothold are stopped from becoming a stronghold.
In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This is God’s tender mercy. Confession and repentance set us free from shame and self-condemnation. He washes us clean and we begin anew. Honestly, humbly, gratefully.
May we seek the Lord today with a humble, grateful heart.
As we do, here are 3 prayers of repentance.
3 Prayers of Repentance:
Father God, thank you for loving me and sending Jesus to die for my sins. Lord Jesus, please forgive me for ________ (name it specifically). Thank you for washing me clean. I renounce that sin. I am done with it. I receive your forgiveness and grace. Holy Spirit, show me the way of escape, show me new strategies, show me new steps to take, so I do not repeat this sin. Help me live like Jesus. In His name. Amen.
Jesus, thank you that you came to seek and save the lost. I was once the lost sheep and you left the 99 to come for me. Please forgive me for ________ (name it specifically). Jesus, I know your body was broken for me, and your blood was shed for my sins. Holy Spirit, strengthen me, show me new thought patterns, new pathways so I don’t fall into this same sin again. Help me honor Jesus with my life. In His name. Amen.
Holy Spirit, cleanse me, purify me, prune me. Help me reflect the image of Jesus, to be holy as He is holy. Father God, forgive me for ________ (name it specifically). Thank you for your forgiveness. By the power of your Holy Spirit, I am set free from the chains of sin. Help me make new plans to avoid this sin. Help me find an accountability partner to pray with. Help me say “yes” to the Spirit and “no” to sin. Grow in me a bigger heart for Jesus than I have for the sin that tempts me. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Do you have a testimony of how you repented and broke free from past sins?
God loves us right where we are, but He loves us too much to leave us where we are.
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