19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, - Acts 3:19-20
This verse doesn't just command us to repent, it also tells us why we should repent - so that our sins may be blotted out. We must remember we cannot stand in our sin before a holy God. Our God is so pure and so holy, that He cannot be in the presence of sin. When we repent, it's as if our sin never occurred, and we can stand pure and righteous in the eyes of our Father. Many of us struggle to get to a place of humble repentance in our prayer life, but others of us carry shame and guilt for the sins of our past beyond repentance - there is freedom in this verse for all of us. When we repent, our sins are gone - He does not see them, and we should not remember or dwell them either. We are a new creation when we repent, and He sees only our beauty. Sometimes the sins of our past can weigh so heavily on our hearts that we hang on to them well past repentance. We struggle to forgive ourselves, even though God has long since let it go. Hanging on to sins from the past can lead us down the dark path of depression, where hope seems lost and we have a difficult time seeing our way to freedom. This is a dangerous place to be, and many cannot see the sin in depression. As we sit in our pit of darkness, we hang on to something God has told us to let go of, rolling the sin and shame around over and over in our minds, beating ourselves up over the guilt.
I can get caught in this trap over my kid, in my job, in my relationship with my husband, with family, with friends. When I lash out in anger, or say something insensitive, the guilt can eat me alive....even long past my owning the sin and asking for forgiveness. I can dwell on those thoughts and they can rob me of my self worth. But these are the thoughts that we must capture and make obedient to Christ. These are sinful thoughts, and the reality is at the root of those thoughts are self and pride. All of my thoughts in those moments are on myself, and it is pride at the root that says God doesn't know best, I do. I keep something He has told me to let go of because my self-focus tells me I shouldn't let it go. The only way out of the pit of depression is to repent, and lay the sin at His feet, walking away in freedom.
A cancer diagnosis can bring those depressing thoughts as well, and keeps my mind fixed on me far too often. It's easy to slip into those spiraling thoughts that throw you into the pit. What did I do to deserve this? Will I fight this my entire life? Will my life ever feel normal again? Thankfully God has guarded me from many of those thoughts that lead to depression. But when they come, I know I'm focused on me, and I know it's my pride taking over. When I'm in this midst of a pity party, it's as if I'm complaining that I know better than God. How arrogant. Repenting of those self-focused thoughts when they come is the only way to freedom.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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