The Christian life is all of grace. We never do the right thing apart from God’s grace. Our motives are never pure apart from God’s enabling grace. And you need to sink this truth deep into your repentance.
Oftentimes, when a Christian realizes they are ensnared by sin; be it bitterness, or anger, or fear, they know they need to repent of their sin, and yet they might wonder: “Am I truly repenting because I hate this sin, or am I repenting because I don’t like the way this sin makes me feel? You know, holding onto this bitterness exhausts me, so if I repent, I can feel better.” In those moments it’s important to do a few things:
First, confess the sin, because it is sin, and you know it to be so. Don’t allow the question of whether your motives are pure to keep you from confessing the truth.
Second, ask God to help you discern your motives and your heart. Even the darkness is light to him, so he is the only one who can look into our dark hearts with perfect acuity.
Third, remember that it’s all of grace. The fact that you see your sin; that’s of grace. And when you confessed that it is sin; that was grace too. If you wait to come to God and agree with him about your sin until all your motives are pure you will be lost. But if you will confess that even your best repentance is still mixed with impure motives, God will bless it in Christ.
This is what it truly means to walk by faith, and not by sight. This reminds us of our need to confess our sins, so let’s pray now.