Authentic New Testament Solutions

Repentance Changes my Desires

Repentance begins with a decision to turn around.

Repentance is deliberately turning away from sin and coming to God for redirection.

Repentance gives us a new purpose and determination.

Repentance is the first step in retraining our lives to be godly.

Repentance gives every one of us hope.

The catalyst for me to repent is to accept moral responsibility for my actions and character and want an improvement. I cannot put the blame on others for what I have done, nor can I blame God for my sin. I agree with God’s judgment that I am a responsible, free moral agent.

The Bible says in James 1:14-15,

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Taking responsibility for my actions rather than blaming others puts me in a position of power over my life because I can change my environment, associations, and other influences. I also know that the renewing of my mind that comes with repentance can dramatically change the way I respond to the things in the world that trigger me to sin. In Luke 15:18, the prodigal son makes the decision to leave the life he created for himself and return to his father’s home. All of us have the power to make that decision. The prodigal stated:

I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you.

All of us have the power to make a decision like this, but we might need assistance to walk it out in order to improve our lives. That’s where we need a supportive group of friends, our church, therapy of some kind, or other resources available to help us walk out our decision to eliminate certain behaviors and live for Christ.

Why? Because we need God’s power and a group of friends to stand with us to follow-through on repentance. Typically, repentance requires us to leave friends who were supportive of sinful activities and develop new friends who are supportive of our repentance. Friends influence the way we think and respond to various influences, which can ultimately change our desires and transform the way we live.

We begin to understand that the appeal of sin is a trap, and that it acts as a snare to grip us and then enslave us.

In Romans 13:12-14 Paul writes,

The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So, remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

As a pastor, I witness repentance all the time. As people walk out their repentance, their desires change—and when their desires change, their lives are changed forever.

By tedhaggardblog

Ted Haggard is the Sr. Pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO and founding pastor of New Life Church and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the husband of Gayle, and the father of Christy, Marcus, Jonathan, Alex and Elliott.

7 replies on “Repentance Changes my Desires”

I really appreciate your unique perspective and would like to ask you for your additional thoughts. This is very personal but I feel compelled to share it with you:

My husband was confronted about a particular sin several years ago. He denied it. He was accused of being inappropriate with my daughter (his step-daughter) when she was 16. She was 19 when she confronted him. I sought pastoral counsel and separated from him for 3 months. He maintained his innocence but I didn’t believe him. I knew it was a hard thing to admit. We decided to try to work through it.

A year ago (age 24) she brought more details into the light and I decided to divorce him. He immediately confessed finally, repented before God and begged me to stay. He made decisions to live differently and has kept those commitments. I do believe a lot about him has changed. I also believe more work needs to be done (true for all of us). His repentance is what inspired me to stay rather than divorce him. My decision to stay caused hurt in my family and definitely affected my relationship with my daughter, which we are working through. My husband says my forgiveness was critical to him being able to live differently and stay on the right path.

My daughter and her now husband (a pastor) cut him out of their lives. They are working on trying to forgive but it’s difficult. Of course it is! He tried asking for forgiveness in a letter last year, but most of the letter was about how because she is a Christian she needs to forgive him, and that God has forgiven him. It added salt to the injury. I have expressed my thoughts and have asked him to consider giving her a proper apology but so far he hasn’t, but says he is considering it – he just doesn’t know how. (Seems pretty simple to me.)

I will say I truly believe God is using it all. My husband has needed to feel the consequence of his sin and her cutting him out of her life has enabled him to see the destruction sin causes and feel the consequence of it. She has needed that time away from him to process through it all and get healing for herself first. But he’s also needed the forgiveness and mercy from me as his wife. He has been able to benefit from a group of Christians walking with him too.

I think we all need both (experiencing the full weight and shame of our sin as it ensure we won’t do it again, and experiencing the full freedom of grace so we can be made new).

I’d love to know your thoughts. Mary


There are some excellent books on how to apologize. But after all this time with no more infractions, he should be forgiven. Unforgiveness means “you owe me something.” Find out what the daughter feels she is due and see if that can be settled.

Great teaching! It’s easy to be friends with and love those whose lives have gone and are going well and without incident. A true friend, and one that God desires, is one that loves, sticks with, and helps restore those who have stumbled and gone astray. Let’s all live lives being a forgiving, restorative, and redemptive people and watch how God’s blessings will overflow.

I wonder if this “forgiveness” is a way to avoid legitimate guilt. Why is it that christians are some of the worst people? Maybe because they don’t learn from their mistakes and are more concerned about being forgiven.

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