Escaping the Third Stage of Sin, Active Participation | The Practical Disciple

Escaping The Third Stage of Sin, Actively Sinning

We’ve been exploring the 3 stages of sin: Acceptance, Support and Active Participation. In my last post, I focused on the second stage, support. In short, when you are in the support stage of sin you actively enable others who are sinning and they inkind begin to have influence over you. Getting out of that stage is all about eliminating influences before you get sucked into the third stage, active participation.
Once you start actively sinning, escaping it begins by recognizing that your actions are wrong and recognizing God’s authority over you; in short, repentance is needed. Throughout this series of posts I have unpacked the stages via the story of Saul’s sin of persecuting Christians. The third stage is also poignantly real in Saul’s story. This stage is evident when Saul pursues the arrest of Christians. What happens to stop him?
Saul is confronted by Jesus and challenged about his sin. Count yourself blessed if someone loves you enough to confront you with your sin. Being confronted is not fun, but it is better than continuing forward.
At this point in the story Saul repents. He stops following his own desires and starts listening to God’s direction. He is not given all of the direction he might want. He is only told to “rise and enter the city and you will be told what to do.” Acts 9:6 Repentance involves a lot of listening and just trusting God. Because again, repentance is about no longer following your desires, but surrendering those desires to God.
So what does this mean practically? If you recognize you are sinning, confess and acknowledge that before God. Ask God to forgive you. Ask God what the next step is. Listen and obey.
One of the keys to lasting repentance is remorse. Confession without remorse won’t last very long. When I was a kid, my younger sister and I fought. My mother would break up the fights and once she identify who started the fight, we would hear those immortal words parents have been saying for generations, “Say you’re sorry.” Through gritted teeth we would offer a reluctant and completely heartless apology. I suspect you can guess what would happen. We would be back at our contrary ways before mom barely got out of the room. Why? We were trying to change our behavior without a change of heart.
So, what do you do if cognitively you know something is wrong, but feel little or no remorse. Two things:
1) Pray that God will soften your heart. Be extremely honest to God praying, “I see now this is sin, but God my heart is still filled with a desire for it. Soften my heart so that in the core of who I am I will feel and truly know the wrongness of my actions that I might stop desiring to sin.”
2) Meditate on the consequence. Take time to seriously consider the damage your sin does to you, others, and your relationship with God. Consider the fact that the ultimate consequence of your sin is Christ’s crucifixion. At one point when I was deeply stuck in depression, one of the finally catalyst for me changing was grasping the impact on my children. I found myself realizing one day, “My children deserve a better parent. They are suffering because of where I am. They don’t know the fun and joyful person that I am and can truly be. They don’t get the time and attention they deserve from me.” Realizing the impact of my depression, gave me the strength to make the changes I needed to get out of it.
So what sin do you need to escape from? Have you confessed it? What would be a next step that would honor God’s intentions for your life rather than your sinful desire? What is the impact and consequence of your sin?
P.S. Watch your inbox. This month is my birthday and I am going to celebrate by having a sale. I am so grateful for readers like you who work hard to live faithfully.

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  • Thanks for this wonderful insight into practical ways of repentance. So needed in my life right now!



    April Kinzinger 6 years ago

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