Acts 3:19 NIV
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
We've all heard about the little boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He's sorry he got caught, but he's not sorry he had his hand in the jar… and the minute his mother's back is turned, he'll do it again.
You and I are just like that little boy… so many times, we do something we know is a sin. We feel guilty about it… sort of. At least we feel guilty about the sin being found out… so we do our form of "repentance", saying we're sorry… but the minute that same temptation rears its enticing head, we dive right back in again without hesitation. We know stealing is a sin, right? So why do we all take things that don't belong to us? I know a woman who continually took items from her employer... paper, pens, pencils, file folders, you name it. She gave these things to her children for school supplies. She didn't need to steal. The combined salaries of herself and her husband were a very healthy living… but she did it anyway. Finally one day she was caught. And she was fired. She felt lousy about the whole thing. But what made her feel lousy was the fact that she got caught - not the fact that she was stealing. So, when she found another job, she started doing the same thing all over again, this time being much more careful not to get caught!
We've all done the same thing. We sin. We realize we've sinned. We're sorry. We ask God for forgiveness. And then we go right back and do the same thing all over again… and again… and again… and when we do that, we haven't truly repented… because repentance is more than just being sorry. It's also turning away from that sin… turning our backs on it… refusing to do it any more… ever.
Impossible, you say? Not if you finish the turn. Read the rest of what Peter says here… turn away from sin, and turn to God. That's a full 180° turn! When you turn away from sin and turn to Jesus, you've turned your back all the way on what is tempting you. You've turned your full attention to Jesus and away from what is tempting you. In that position, with your focus centered on Jesus, it's easy to keep your hand out of the cookie jar.
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