For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death, (7:10).
Sorrow; it can be a destructive force in our lives. Sorrow can consume us in grief until the light of day has all but vanished. Sorrow can obliterate hope, extinguish joy and weigh us down until we are all but crushed under the burden.
That is, if our sorrow is merely a fleshly response. A sorrow that feels bad for self, a sorrow that is sorry we got caught, a sorrow that is dreading how this might affect our own sorry self.
But that is not God’s Way or Will for Our Sorrow. His gracious and compassionate heart for all of His creation is that in our sorrow, we would turn to Him and live.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil, (Joel 2:12-13).
Consider His Will for Our Sorrow
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death, (7:10 NIV).
- His Will for Our Sorrow brings repentance to turn to Him and away from self and sin.
- Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, (Acts 3:19-20).
- His Will for Our Sorrow leads to salvation.
- that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation, (Romans 10:9-10).
- His Will for Our Sorrow leaves no regrets.
- let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water, (Hebrews 10:22).
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter, (7:11 NIV).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces an earnest diligence.
- Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, (2 Peter 1:5).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces a yearning desire to be cleared in His sight.
- just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him… (Ephesians 1:4).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces an indignation regarding sin.
- For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (Titus 2:11-12).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces a holy fear of His holiness.
- And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, (Hebrews 4:13).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces a longing to see His righteousness rule.
- looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deed, (Titus 2:13-14).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces a fervent concern for His will and ways.
- not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality, (Romans 12:11).
- His Will for Our Sorrow produces a readiness to see justice done.
- Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light… 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Ephesians 5:6-8, 11).
- His Will for Our Sorrow proves our innocence in the midst of worldliness.
- Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14-15).
How do we respond to His Will for Our Sorrow?
It is God’s heart that our Sorrow would be according to His Will; some translations refer to this as godly sorrow. Mere lip service is not godly sorrow. Just confessing our sins is not godly sorrow. Simply crying and telling God how sorry we are is not godly sorrow. Godly sorrow bears fruit in keeping with repentance.
“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;” (Matthew 3:8).
Today, let us spend some time with Him, asking His Holy Spirit to search us for fruit that is borne in keeping with repentance.
- Is my Sorrow turning me to Him and away from self?
- Has my Sorrow brought me to the place of trusting Him alone for my salvation?
- Am I wallowing in regrets, or has my conscience been cleansed by the blood of Jesus?
- Do I possess an earnest diligence to serve Him?
- Is my yearning desire to be cleared in His sight resting in Him alone?
- Do I have an indignation regarding sin that compels me to deny ungodliness and worldly desires?
- Do I walk in a holy fear of His holiness?
- Do I live for eternity, longing to see His righteousness rule?
- Is my life characterized by a fervent concern for His will and His ways?
- Am I ready to see His justice done in my own life?
- Does my life prove my innocence in the midst of worldliness?
I am certain we all have areas in our life in need of godly sorrow. And while godly sorrow is more than just confessing our sin, it is the place to start.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin, (Psalm 32:1-5).
Let us draw near to God and ask Him to break our hearts with godly sorrow for all that breaks His heart, that we would know and understand His Will for Our Sorrow.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:8).
As we humble ourselves in godly sorrow, He will lift us up to turn to Him. We can fully trust His Will for our Sorrow to equip and work in us that which is pleasing in His sight through our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen, (Hebrews 13:20-21).