Regret is a precursor to repentance, but when our sins are removed from us as far as the East is from the West, regret often remains. Although painful, this type of regret is in reality a blessing. When we remember the pain we have caused by doing wrong, the lives our sins have altered beyond repair, and the ripple effects of our selfishness continuing in the circumstances of others, we are cautioned never to act that way again.
We think, “God help me to never do that again!” or, “If I had it to do over again…”
The truth is, we have it to do over again—constantly.
Based upon the undying regret of sins past, we must resolve never to repeat them. We cannot change the past but we can affect the future. As marvelous as forgiveness of sins is from the hand of the Lord Jesus, the power to break the patterns of behavior that led us into sin is more marvelous still. This power is the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit—regeneration, the theologians call it. The past is forgiven and a different future is in store for us.
Part of that future is the blessing of regrets that remind us the past can be future if we are not constantly dependent upon the Spirit of Christ, who is the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of New Life, the Spirit of Holiness, and the Spirit of power.
- The Spirit of Christ is the victory over evil and death.
- The Spirit of Truth is the revealer of all truth and the One who quickens us to understand spiritual things.
- The Spirit of New Life is the resurrection power of God making all things new.
- The Spirit of Holiness is the Refiner’s Fire and Fuller’s Soap to purify the Sons of Levi.
- The Spirit of Power is the inner strength in the abiding, covenantal presence of the Holy Spirit, to resist the Devil and witness to the Gospel.
Lest We Forget
So drastic is the change with the entrance of Christ into a life, it would be easy to forget the way we lived, the way we were, before Jesus saved us. Regret is the gift of God that keeps our feet on the ground.
- When we see a face that reminds of someone we have harmed,
- when we hear a phrase that reminds of some unkind thing we have said, and
- when we hear a true story that is a reenactment of one that happened to us long ago, before we became the hero of such stories,
- then we remember who we once were and how we once lived.
Remembering and regretting, we breathe a prayer of thanksgiving and without hesitation, send to heaven a plea like the old song, “Keep me true, Lord Jesus. Keep me true.”
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it…because your sorrow led you to repentance… See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
When you were dead in your sins and in … your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
“…suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Lord, don’t let me forget, on this side of heaven, where I was when you found me and how I was before you came into my heart. Turn this regret into the Gates of Thanksgiving for me! I as remember the dark time before Your light shone around me, let me also recall how different my life has been since then—light instead of darkness, peace instead of turmoil, faith instead of fear, and your constant nearness. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Lord! I do not regret a mile I have walked with You!
Keep Me True
Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.
Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.
There’s a race that I must run.
There are vict’ries to be won.
Every hour, by Thy power, keep me true!
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved