Repentance as Lifestyle

Repentance is not something you leave behind as you progress in the Christian life. The closer you get to God the more aware you become of your sin and the deeper the work of repentance needs to be. This means that self-examination and confession are important.

Over the centuries many Christians have used the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 as a diagnostic tool to help deepen their repentance. What follows are some suggested questions (drawn in part from Tim Keller’s book on Prayer) to help us do the same.

1. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME

What comes first in your life? Where do you look for your sense of worth, status, acceptance, identity? Whom or what is your hope? Your righteousness? Your saviour? Where do you go for peace in times of trouble?

Confess to God anything amiss

Consider the all sufficiency and glory of God until there is a new awareness of your idols, a sense of their inadequacy, and a new desire to know God above all

2. YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF AN IMAGE

Are you limiting God in some way? Are you allowing something other than the Bible to tell you what he is like? Are you refusing to accept something the Bible clearly teaches?

Confess to God anything amiss

Consider what the Gospel teaches us about God until there is a fresh sense of God’s freedom, uniqueness and glory, a willingness to let God be God and a new delight in the balance and beauty of all his perfections

3. YOU SHALL NOT MISUSE THE NAME OF THE LORD

Are you taking the things of God lightly? Do you use God’s name or God’s Word casually or even as a curse? Are you using God as a means to some other end?

Confess to God anything that is amiss

Consider the immensity, holiness and love of God until there is a new sense of awe at who God is and a new fear of grieving him

4. REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY

Are you working too much? Is your life out of balance? Has your family or your career or your hobbies started to become your identity and hope? Are you neglecting God? Are you neglecting preaching, worship, prayer, fellowship and Christian service?

Confess to God anything that is amiss

Consider the cross of Christ until you get a new sense that your life is not your own, that you been bought at a great price, that everything you are and have you owe to the grace of God, and that the joy you seek can only be found in knowing him

5. HONOUR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER

Are valuing, forgiving, listening to and supporting your parents? Are you forgetting how much you owe to others? Are you neglecting family responsibilities? Are you holding on to some grudge or resentment?

Confess to God anything that is amiss.

Consider the love of your heavenly father for a prodigal like you until it moves you again, freeing you to love, give and forgive.

6. YOU SHALL NOT MURDER

Do you hold anyone in disdain? Is there any root of prejudice in your heart? Have you spoken or thought cruelly or unkindly of anyone? Is there any unjust anger in your heart towards anyone?

Confess to God anything that is amiss

Consider the grace of Jesus Christ until there is no coldness or unkindness (as you think of the sacrificial love of Jesus for you), no impatience (as you think of his patience with you), no indifference (as you think of how God cares for you), and some warmth and affection

7. YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY

Are you resisting even the first motions of sexual lust? Are you viewing pornography? Are you working at your marriage, and other key relationships, giving them the time, attention and resources they need? Are you loyal to your commitments even when it costs you something? Are you resisting the consumerism of our culture?

Confess to God anything that is amiss.

Consider how your maker is your husband and Christ is the lover of your soul until you are freed from idolizing sex, romance or marriage. Consider the covenant love of Christ who loved you and gave himself for you

8. YOU SHALL NOT STEAL

Are your possessions too important to your sense of self and happiness? Are you giving generously to those in need? Do you ever compromise morally to protect or increase your financial resources?

Confess to God anything that is amiss

Consider the all sufficiency of Christ until you feel the hold your possessions have on you loosen, a renewed desire to use everything you are and everything you have for the glory of God, and a rest in Christ as your treasure and great reward

9. YOU SHALL NOT GIVE FALSE TESTIMONY

Is there a transparency and simplicity about your life? Do people know where they are with you? Is your witness constant across every area? Are you living a double life at any level or in any way?

Confess to God anything that is amiss

Consider the utter faithfulness of God to you and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life, until you find a new love of the truth in your own life and new desire to live a life of total integrity before God

10. YOU SHALL NOT COVET

Am I looking at anyone with envy? Am I giving space in my mind to lust or gluttony? Am I being driven by greed, fears, need for approval, love of comfort and ease, need for control, hunger for acclaim and power, or the fear of other people?

Confess to God anything amiss

Consider the grace of Jesus Christ until you have a fresh disillusionment with your idols and their promises, a new contentment with the unsearchable riches of Christ, and a desire to know him and make him known