Godly Sorrow

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow leads to death.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

Father of grace, I pray that the sadness in my heart would be godly rather than worldly sorrow. That I would be broken over seeking my joy and life in other things beside yourself. As you challenged the people of Israel through Jeremiah so long ago, you also challenge me, that I have dug cisterns that can hold no water. I have sought to find my joy in reputation, success, physical comfort, and so many other shallow resources.

Jesus, you tell me that you are the river of living water. It is deep and wide, and thoroughly satisfying. And yet I dig wells in the desert, hoping, even straining, to discover a taste of satisfaction and joy in other, lesser pursuits. Sometimes it appears as if I have found it, but it is always a temporary pleasure, unlike the eternal joy that is found simply in knowing you and experiencing your presence.

By your grace, you rescue me from myself as your Holy Spirit brings godly sorrow into my heart. A sorrow from God and unto God. A sorrow that you create in my heart that longs to be reconciled to you, Father, to follow you and to glorify you. And so I come to repent, to be honest about the reality of my sin nature and my propensity to follow it away from you, the source of life, to dig wells. I confess my coldheartedness. How I want to be on fire, and experience a passion for your presence!

And that is where repentance leads, isn’t it? Repentance takes me to the cross, where my Savior bears the burden of justice for my well-digging, coldheartedness, and every other conceivable deviation that my life has taken from your will and your ways. He says “It is finished,” and you call me your beloved son. Forgiven. Accepted. Treasured. Never to be forsaken.

My heart is beginning to understand that the gospel is not religion. It is not about what I can do for you, but what you have done for me. It is about the Gift. The undeserved, unearned gift of knowing you and experiencing your presence as my Father. As your word says, perfect love casts out fear. And so when I can fully embrace, and be embraced by the truth of your gospel for me, I can begin to grow with a passion for your presence.

To know you. To love you. To glorify you. That is the goal of my salvation, and why the grace of godly sorrow leads to it. And that is why, Father, there is no regret in the pain of repentance. Because I learn that through Jesus’ pain, I am redeemed and adopted, forgiven and loved. Treasured, not merely tolerated.

Father, I pray that I would experience this godly sorrow, and be wise not to mistake it for worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow is the sorrow of Judas, whose sin nature cast him into despair, condemning him and convincing him that there was no hope.

And so Father, when I see my sin, enable me not to fix my eyes on it, but rather on the blood of Jesus. Deliver me from despair, and fill me with the hope of the gospel so that I may experience a new desire to love, follow and glorify you, Father, Son and Spirit. To that end, my repentance will never have any regret.