When confronted with poor decisions and bad habits that creep into our lives because of the evil desires within us, we follow Christ’s teaching to confess, repent, and move on. If we’re honest, we admit that this is a daily occurrence. We repent, then slip back into the same bad choice. We wrestle with it, seek counsel from others, pray, change our environment, even punish ourselves, gaining some relief and success, but the temptation, the tendency, the weakness lingers in our hearts and minds.
It’s an exercise God designed with a purpose. He wants us to struggle. He wants us to grow with minor victories, finding our greatest victory in relying on him. We’re afraid of being judged by heaven for those bad decisions. (We should be–if we don’t seek God’s forgiveness through repentance.) But when we seek mercy, we find it, and that is the whole purpsoe of our struggle: to turn us to the one who loves and forgives.
Not long ago, I wrote this in my journal: “Today’s repentance and sin will not allow me to redeem myself. Christ has already redeemed me. My actions and words won’t end the desire, the weakness. They won’t end the shame. In fact, they may multiple my shame when I fail again and again. However, my repentance allows me to demonstrate my gratitude for grace and redemption. Today, by depending on God’s mercy, I will show the world how helpless I am without my Savior. I will show my God how grateful I am and how much I depend on him. Today I will interrupt the pattern of evil with repentance, and with God’s help create a new pattern day by day.”
Heaven’s solution is not for us to work harder and repent more fervently. Heaven’s solution is to provide a Savior on whom we will depend for everything.