Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works. —Revelation 2:5
Repentance is not a matter of cleaning up our lives in order to be forgiven. C. S. Lewis said that it “is not something God demands of you before He will take you back . . . ; it is simply a description of what going back is like.”
In Leadership magazine, a man told of his 10-year struggle with pornography. The agony he felt from leading a double life finally overwhelmed him. To his horror he realized one day that the simple pleasures of a colorful sunset or the soft spray of an ocean breeze no longer excited him. His obsession with lust had dulled his appreciation of life’s finest pleasures and robbed him of the joy of a close relationship with his wife and with Jesus.
He was outwardly faithful to his wife and to the Lord, but his heart was far from them. He was like the believers Jesus spoke to in Revelation 2. He told them, “You have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (vv.4-5).
The man knew what he needed to do. His confession to God and to his wife was painful and awkward, but it brought him the joy of forgiveness and renewed relationships.
Repentance is painful, but it restores life’s true pleasures—being right with God and with others.
Repentance is to leave the sin
That I had loved before,
And show that I am grieved by it
By doing it no more. —Anon.