“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)
Why is repentance important? It’s important because sin hinders our relationship with God. When a beaver begins to build a dam it begins with one tree. It chews away at the tree until it falls down and begins to block the water from the stream or river. The water can still flow, but it is restricted. As more trees are chewed down, the dam begins to grow and more water is restricted until eventually the stream is completely blocked and no more water can flow.
The same principle works in our spiritual lives which is like the river. It flows with the Holy Spirit. But unconfessed sin forms a blockage, like the felled trees do, so that the Holy Spirit does not flow as much in our lives. The river of the Holy Spirit in our lives is restricted. If this continues, then more and more trees are added and more and more of the Spirit is hindered. The psalmist tells us…
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 6:18)
As we spend time in repentance, we can ask God to show us the sin we need to turn from. Often this sin is obvious to us. But sometimes that sin may lie in attitudes which we have carried for a long time, and which we have become comfortable with and even blind to. As the Holy Spirit is given permission by us to search our hearts, he can bring these things to light and we can bring them to God in confession. As we confess we receive his forgiveness. To use the beaver’s dam analogy, repentance removes the tree trunks so that the water can flow again.
So make time for repentance. Take time to ask the Lord to show you where you have erected dams in your life (they could have been there a long time). Then ask for the grace and strength to confess those sins, so that the Lord can remove them, and the Spirit can flow freely once more.