Repent and Renounce — You’re Stronger than You Think
Do you believe the practice of repenting and renouncing sin should be a normal part of our life? When I gave my heart to Jesus, I was a big mess and it was painfully obvious I needed change. But now, sin pulls at me in more subtle ways. I’m learning the importance of practicing what God’s teaching me, and often that means changing how I think and act even in ways that don’t seem as consequential. As you’ve grown in the Lord, have you continued to repent and renounce sin?
The last time I did acid led to one of my first times of repenting and renouncing. I had recently given my life to the Lord (shocking, I know, considering my behavior). The whole time I was high I was haunted—by the Holy Ghost. He wouldn’t leave me alone. As the chemicals went through me, my every thought turned to God and I couldn’t escape Him. You may think that doesn’t sound so bad. But in the moment I was thinking, “Depart from me, for I am a man of unclean lips.” Only He and my unclean lips wouldn’t leave me alone.
Don’t worry, I quit drugs and don’t approve of them. I told you I needed some fixing up when I came to know Jesus. He proceeded to turn my whole life around. Thankfully, that experience with acid was horrible. I didn’t like being ruled by my body and the nasty thoughts I’m normally able to keep hidden. It was clear I wasn’t in control of myself. I don’t know about you, but I cause enough problems when I’m in the driver’s seat!
I determined I’d never do acid again. Got rid of what I saved for later, and said I wouldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t realize, but I was repenting and renouncing this sin. Can we do the same thing with selfish ambition or not trusting God to provide? Can we put it away and proclaim we’re not going back?
To repent and renounce is like breaking out of your shackles and chasing off your captor with a loud roar. It’s a key to freedom and taking back ground from the enemy. You need to be practicing this if you want to experience victory on this side of heaven.
Repent and Renounce? Those words sound weird and church-y. What does it all mean?
Think of repentance as when you obey your GPS Navigation when it says, “Recalculating… Make a U-Turn.” Repentance means changing course. You’re going the wrong way, turn back. I want to be clear, it’s more than admitting you went the wrong way and stopping. That’d be like saying, “Sorry, GPS. You’re right, I went the wrong way. I’ll stop here.” That voice will keep bugging you until you shut it off or get back on the right track. Repentance is actually turning away from the wrong path and taking the right one. I could just stop doing drugs, but I could also learn how to go to God for comfort, peace, and joy.
And renouncing is like making a declaration of independence. Taking ownership of yourself and what you will or will not be submitted to. It’s not enough to desperately say, “Please, self, no! PLEASE STOP DOING WRONG THINGS!” That’s essentially admitting defeat. It leaves your focus on what you are attempting to avoid which overpowered you. Instead, as you believe God is at work on your behalf, boldly declare, “Self, you are not a slave anymore to _______!” Then believe and act like it’s finished. Because of Jesus, you’re stronger than you think or feel. No, really!
I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up!
Many Bible verses which include a derivative of the word “renounce” have to do with renouncing God. That’s a big no-no. Here’s a novel idea, don’t renounce good stuff, renounce bad stuff! In this verse we see it applied to sin.
“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways…”
– 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
Verses that use the word repent are a little more common. Here’s a great example of what we’ve been talking about.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”
– Acts 3:19 (NIV)
These next two verses show you can overcome a lifestyle that’s harmful. You don’t have to stay trapped, it’s possible to escape. You can stop wearing prison garbs, and put on the clothes of royalty the King of Kings gives you! In other words, stop acting like a slave and start acting like a child of God.
“… they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.”
– 1 Peter 4:2-3 (NIV)
“… Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.”
– Romans 6:19 (NIV)
All of This is to Say…
God is stronger than whatever bad thing that has a grip on you. Maybe you’re convinced you can’t shake it. The truth is He’s made a way for you to overcome. Turn away from that thing towards Him. And literally speak out a declaration in faith, “_______ has no power over me! I renounce it in Jesus’s name!”
Do you believe you’re capable of freedom? It’s important you do. I dare you to take off the grave clothes and that dead way of being you were trapped in before you came to Jesus’s cross. Turn to the living way He redeemed you for when you put your faith in His resurrection. Stop agreeing with the lies shouted at you by your old prison guard. Start declaring the truth first spoken by the One who set you free.
I adapted this blog post into part of a chapter in my book, GOD is HERE: Finding God in the Pain of a Broken World, which is currently free on most eBook sites.
– John W. Nichols