Moved But Not Changed
“Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do harm, because my soul (life) was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.”
1 Samuel 26:21
I have been part of many revivals, camp meetings, and church services. I have listened to a lot of preaching messages on the internet, cassette tapes, and even on the radio. I have attended church leadership conferences where the preaching was hot, and I have been part of an altar call that flooded the front of the church. I have shed tears for my sin, and I have truly felt sorry for the wrongs I did. I have also been caught in sin, and I felt horrible for the things I committed or been caught in the act doing. I felt bad that I was caught, and I felt bad for the people I hurt in the process. Sin is not a victimless crime and there are always others who are impacted by your sinful choices. In many of these instances, especially when I was young, I was often asked, "do you feel sorry for your sin or are you sorry that you got caught?"
Of course, the right answer to say is “I am sorry for my sin”, but my subsequent actions demonstrated that I instead was sorry I had been caught. There is a difference of stopping before you get caught, and quite another when you get caught in the act. There is nothing worse than getting caught in the middle of a sin, but we forget that God sees all and He is aware of all our sin and none of it is hidden from Him. God has allowed me to hear some great messages, and I have made decisions in response to many of them. I surrendered my heart to the Holy Spirit and at those times, I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest due to the conviction being so strong. I had every intention of changing my life and fully surrendering my life to God, but I would soon forget and go back to my sinful lifestyle. I tried my hardest not to mess up, but I did not institute the tools God gives us to fight temptation and the pull of the world.
I have come to learn that it is not enough to feel bad for my sin, but I must confess and forsake them. It is not enough to feel sorrow, but action must be taken to avoid going back the way I just came from. I grew tired of being convicted on Sunday and then going back to my old sin on Monday. I realized that I was not surrendered to God's will, and I made opportunity for my flesh and fell once again. God does not focus on the tears that flow from our eyes, but He looks at our heart. He requires a contrite heart and a heart that is surrendered to Him.
Saul, in his sinful pride and wickedness, sought the life of David. I am not sure if Saul was a true believer in God, but it is clear he never made things right with David and he never repented for the evil he did to him. David had two opportunities to take the life of Saul in revenge, but David surrendered to God's will and would not lay a hand on him. Saul spoke of how David was a better man than he was, but he never uttered words of repentance, just words of regret for his actions. He was given a chance to repent and be truly changed, but there is no record that he did so. If you are like Saul, you will play the fool like he did, but if you are of a tender heart, then you will be like David who had a heart after God.
Will you simply be moved or will you be changed? Will you simply feel sorry for your sin or will you choose to turn from them? What will it take in your life for you to truly repent? May today be the day we turn our life over to God, and may we not just be moved, but may our life be changed forever.
Stay in the fight!