BE SURE THERE HAS BEEN COMPLETE REPENTANCE
Complete repentance is critical component to lasting change. If you want to escape the snare of the devil and to be victorious over your fleshly nature repentance is essential. Paul taught, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26). In addition, repentance is the denying of your sinful lust as Paul said, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). All change begins with repentance.
I. What Does it Mean To Repent?
A. Repentance must affect your mind and the choices you make (Matt. 21:29) (Acts 8:22). The word repent means to change your mind and to the reverse directions in your behavior.
B. Repentance must affect your emotions (2 Cor. 7:9) (Psalms 38:18).
C. Repentance must affect your actions (1 Thess. 1:9).
D. Repentance is turning away from your sin (Acts 3:26) (1 Peter 3:10-11).
E. Repentance is turning to the Lord (Acts 26:20) (Acts 9:35).
II. What Hinders True Repentance?
A. Rationalization and excuses. Be sure you aren't rationalizing and excusing your behavior. "Oh, I don't have that big of a problem with drinking." "Well, I wouldn't eat so much if people weren't always on my case about my work.” “I just get under too much pressure and that is why I get high."
B. Dishonesty. Be honest about all the related issues that surround your addictive behavior. These dishonest thoughts must be completely repented of too.
1. Lying to yourself and to others about how much you have used, drank, eaten, or about any action you have taken to cover yourself.
2. Self-justification for your actions, to use, to drink, to eat, or binge and purge.
3. The idolatry of having the perfect life, perfect peace, or perfect body.
4. Stealing money or things from others, the family budget, or from your job just so you can buy drugs or alcohol.
5. Incorrect goals of self-pleasure or self-indulgence vs. self-control and bringing pleasure and glory to God.
C. Unwillingness. This was the reason the Pharisees wouldn't come to repentance (John 5:40).
D. You don’t hate your addiction enough. To love God you must hate evil (Ps. 97:10) (Ps. 119:128). Ask God for a hatred for your addiction and all your related behavior to sustain your addiction.
E. Blame-shifting. Adam blamed God and Eve for his sin instead of repenting. Then Eve blamed Satan for her failure (Gen. 3:12-13). Are you blaming your spouse, your parents, the world for your addictive behavior? Unless you take personal responsibility for your own behavior there will be no repentance or freedom.
III. The Blessings of True Repentance.
A. Only by true repentance can your sins be forgiven (Luke 24:47).
B. When you repent God will refresh to your heart and mind (Acts 3:19).
C. When you repent God gives life to you (Acts 11:18).
D. When you repent you will experience a new motivation and zeal to do the right thing (2 Cor. 7:10-11).
IV. Steps to Take.
A. Ask God for a willingness to completely turn from your addictive behavior.
B. Decide to agree with God that your behavior is sinful and selfish.
C. Ask God to enable you by His grace to be honest about every aspect of your sinful behavior. Give up every excuse and rationalization for your addictive behavior.
D. Ask the Lord to help you to stop lying to yourself, others, and stop blaming others for your addictive behavior.
E. Ask God for true sorrow that leads to repentance and a passionate hatred for your behavior.
F. Ask God to show you every action that you must take as proof of your repentance.
*Honest and specific repentance lays the groundwork to enable you to put to death the "deeds of the body by the Spirit." (Rom. 8:13)