“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
David was a man who knew how to repent. He constantly searched his heart before God and was quick to cry, “I’ve sinned, Lord. I stand in need of prayer.”
Being repentant does not mean you simply try to make things right with the person you have wronged. No, it’s about making things right with God! He is the One who has been sinned against. Yes, we are to apologize to our brothers and sisters whenever we have wronged them, but, more importantly, we are to repent of our sin before God. David said, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:3-4).
David believed strongly in conducting heart-searchings — the hard discipline of digging out sin in his heart. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). He continually invited the Lord to examine every corner of his life.
Perhaps you search your heart on a regular basis, yet you come away from the Spirit’s dealing saying, “Thank goodness, I’m clean. I don’t have any more sin in me.” If that is the case, beloved, you are deceived. Isaiah confessed, “For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them” (Isaiah 59:12). The prophet was saying, “We know all about our own sins.” Of course, God knows when we say or do wrong things but we know it, too.
A great benefit of repentance is receiving peace and strength. After Daniel had prayed and fasted in great agony, Jesus came to him, touched him and said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong” (Daniel 10:19).
A truly repentant heart never has to hide from the Lord because there is no longer any fear of judgment. When you acknowledge your sins, evidence godly sorrow and make restitution, Jesus will look at you, just as he did at Daniel, and say, “I love you and I want to give you my peace. Now, stand up and be strong!”