Do I take sin seriously? Am I dealing with sin in my life? I've been reflecting on these questions quite a bit lately.
I understand that sin is a an act of rebellion on my part against God. Sin separates me from Him. I also comprehend the seriousness of sin since God sent Jesus to die for our sins.
My sin not only affects me, but those around me as well. I'll use my sin of gluttony for example. When I overeat, I am mistreating my body - God's temple. The more I overeat, the unhealthier I become. When I am unhealthy, I am not at my best to deal with my responsibilities, let alone opportunities. I'm just too tired. I then become sick and unable to give 100% to God and my family.
When I pray for forgiveness of my sin, what are my expectations? Do I reflect upon my sin and ask the Lord for help? Or do I expect Him to wave a wand and *poof* the sin is gone never to bother me again? When the Israelites celebrated Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, they took it seriously. They fasted and stopped working for the duration while the High Priest performed the ritual, which included sacrifice, burning of incense, and confession in the Temple. They used this day to renew their covenant with the Lord.
Second Chronicles 7:14 says "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." The original context of this verse is God's answer to Solomon's prayer of dedication. In the prayer, Solomon asked the Lord to hear His people. This was God's response. I believe it is just as applicable today as it was then.
Asking forgiveness of sin is more than "please forgive me." It requires action on my part as I turn away from my sin and constantly seek the Lord's face. Thankfully, through the sacrifice of Jesus, He hears me. He helps me through the Holy Spirit. He desires the restored relationship. For this is the abundant life.