For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10
Because we desire to be more like Jesus, we make resolutions, ask Him to help us, and try to behave differently. Yet despite our best efforts to do things God’s way, we slide back into old habits. Frustrated, we may ask Him, “Why can’t I change?”
Overcoming sinful attitudes and behaviors starts with genuine repentance.
Conviction. The Holy Spirit will reveal the areas in which we’ve sinned and convict us of wrongdoing. Through Scripture, He’ll show us God’s standard and what needs to change. Repentance begins with understanding where we have gone astray.
Contrition. The next step—grieving over our iniquity—is followed by confession to the Lord. It’s simply human nature to sense regret when we are caught in misbehavior, deal with the consequences of poor choices, or feel ashamed that people know about our sin. In contrast, genuine sorrow arises from the knowledge that we’ve sinned against God. True contrition will lead us to humble confession.
Commitment. Real repentance is complete when we wholeheartedly pledge to turn from our old ways and move toward righteousness. God knows we won’t live perfectly, but He looks for a surrendered heart that diligently seeks to obey Him.
Paul used strong language when telling us to turn from iniquity: “Put to death ... whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Col. 3:5 NIV). What sin are you struggling to overcome? Have you genuinely repented, committing to turn from it permanently? Let the Holy Spirit empower you to change.