March 18th

Resisting Repentance

24Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." 26At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. Acts 24:24-27 NIV 

The story of the Roman Governor, Felix illustrates the internal struggle that can result when God is calling us to repent.  As Paul talked about God’s word, Felix no doubt felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit concerning his sin.  He became afraid and asked Paul to stop.  Felix mentioned that he would look for a more convenient time to have Paul talk again.  

The next few verses give us insight into Felix’s situation.  He was hoping Paul would bribe him.  Because he sought favor with the Jews, he left Paul in prison after two years.  These ulterior motives of greed and wanting men’s favor stood in the way of Felix’s repentance. 

Each of us is likely to have sinful desires that will try to stand in the way of our repentance from sin.  The question is, will we let the sinful desires have victory, or will we turn and repent from our sin?  Felix’s comment about finding a more convenient time touches on our human tendency to delay repentance and continue pursuing our sin.  

One of the problems with delaying repentance is that we give our sin more time to harden us to the truth.  Eventually, we may stop responding altogether to the truth.  The author of Hebrews warned people to encourage one another in the truth, so that no one would “be hardened by sin's deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV).  After two years of meeting with Paul, perhaps Felix had become hardened to the truth.  

I pray that each of us will be responsive to the Holy Spirit when he convicts us of sin in our lives.  The best response is to surrender immediately to the Spirit, stop our sin, confess our sin and turn from it.  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for the power of your word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  I confess the times in my life when I have resisted the Spirit in order to continue in my sin: ________________(list them).  Please forgive me and cleanse me of all my sin and any hardness in my heart towards the truth.  Please create a clean heart in me that is responsive and obedient to the Holy Spirit without delay.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”