The Puritans had a special phrase for repentance (turning from sin). They called it “growing downwards.“
Similarly, Martin Luther wrote in the first of his 95 Theses, “the whole life of believers should be repentance.“
It does much good for a child of God to uncover new depths of their own sinfulness. In such a state, repentance becomes more than a reminder; it becomes fuel for seeing and trusting the Savior in a fresh way. But apart from fresh discoveries of sin, repentance becomes stale. This is in large part the reason why the love of many Christians toward God has grown cold. When repentance becomes a stale reminder of past and present sin, we can be sure we’ve lost sight of Jesus.
The process of repentance is like dwelling in a deep cave and moving toward the shining light of Christ at the entrance. In the process of true repentance, our souls flee from the darkness of sin and sprint toward the blazing holiness of Christ which shines forth and exposes darker areas of sin, helping us navigate our way to him. But when repentance becomes stale, it is too difficult to see the light of Christ and we end up turning the other way, going deeper into darkness. It’s only until we realize the darkness in these new depths that we will turn and run toward Christ again.
When was the last time you experienced true repentance? Examine your life! Let the light of God’s Word shine in your heart and life, and let God the Holy Spirit conduct heart-surgery! In your repentance, turn to Christ your Redeemer who promises forgiveness and true joy in his presence!