It is an issue of the will and not of emotion though it is usually accompanied with emotion. It is emotion of determination to change and not just remorse or sorry. It is not about being sorry for being caught in the act, fear of the punishment, self-pity, only-ifs, etc. It is a change of heart, thinking and determination. It is boldness in admitting one's error and faith in God's forgiveness and God's plan.
There are two key parts - forgetting the past and pressing forward towards God. If we are still thinking about the past, then we have not complete the repentance process. Jesus tells us not to look back or turn pack once we start the journey. The best way to forget the past is to look forward. Hence, in the shortest form, repentance is just simply looking towards and seeking after God. If we just hunger and thirst for God, we would have forgotten the past and truly repented. Repentance is pursuing God and that is all.
Then I can understand Bro Lawrence's saying that when he made a mistake, he din't spend any time thinking about it -he just confessed and move on (towards God - added by me).
Here are additional sharing about repentance from my home group meeting:
- Repentance is not just a change of direction but of a change in direction towards God. .i.e. turn to God and not just a turn.
- Repentance is not just feeling sorry, regrets or remorse. These tend to be self centered. Repentance is God centric.
- It is about adopting God's values - a change of our values system.
- It is about a heart change rather than just a head change (change of mind).
- It is not perfection - not that we will not sin again but that we have started our commitment to God.
- Repentance begins with knowing or recalling God have been and is good to us. It is believing God will accept us, no matter what, when we return to Him. Such confidence in the love of God is due to past experience as per the Prodigal Son's taste of his Father goodness to him.
- Lesson to Parent: Must show forth your love to your children now... so that later if they err, they will come back to you rather than stay away even when they repented.
- Laws in our Heart - We are rebirthed with an internal Compass / Conscience to guide us do to the right things.
- Re-emphasized that Righteousness is right standing with God and not something you gain by doing but by faith.
- If we are already saved and righteous, then why do we need to confess our sins?
- Need to differentiate Spirit, Soul, Body.
- Sins cause us to break fellowship.
- Confession & Repentance restore fellowship.
- We are created and saved to have fellowship with God.
- Sins cause us to live in bondage and poor living
- Admit specifically what was wrong.
- Express desire and take action to what is right.
- Even if we sin and result in body sickness, God provides a way (laying hand, anointing with oil by Elders) for healing thru forgiveness.
- Doctrine - the truth.
- Reproof - show what is wrong when we apply #1 Doctrine in our lives.
- Correct - show what and how to do the right thing
- Training in Righteousness - building up on the right habits to be champions for God.
If we are righteous, then we will not be bothered by sin. No concern and no time for sinning.
How can we pursue champion-building thinking?
- flesh vs spirit - Reliance on God rather than self
- overcoming temptation.
- renewed mind.
- Break away from Bad Habits -> By Deliverance -> By Knowing the Truth vs Ungodly Beliefs that bind