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How to Respond to Personal Sin

“When we think too lightly of sin, we think too lightly of the Savior.”

Charles Spurgeon

Satan incited David in I Chronicles 21 to sin by taking a census of Israel. Instead of David putting his trust and dependence upon God, he placed his confidence in the number of men in his army. God wants our faith and reliance to be in Him and in His provisions. King David eventually came around and wrote Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” 

Joab, David’s military commander tried to discourage David from committing this sin, but David overruled Joab and ignored the accountability. We read frequently that David “inquired of the Lord,” but for some reason in this instance, he didn’t. I wonder how many problems, hurt, and sin would be avoided in our lives if we only asked God what He thought.

Sure enough, David’s sin was “evil in the sight of God” (I Chronicles 21:7). We can learn how to respond to our personal sin by seeing how David handled his.

  1. Confession – David admitted his foolishness and confessed his sin to God. (verse 8)

  2. Ownership – Take full responsibility for your sin. When we think we’re victims we’re tempted to point fingers and place the blame on others. (verse 8)

  3. Understand the Lord’s nature – David knew the Lord and His character trait of great mercy. (verse 13)

  4. Revere the Lord and respond in humility – David feared the Lord when he saw the angel of destruction standing between earth and heaven. In response, David and the elders clothed themselves in sackcloth and fell upon their faces. (verse 16)

  5. Realize our sin affects others – David cried out to God for mercy to be upon those affected by his sin. (verse 17)

  6. Worship God – David built an altar to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings and called on the Lord. (verses 18-28)

The next time you sin, follow in David’s steps. Confess your sin to the Lord. Take full ownership. Understand and count on God’s mercy. Fear the Lord and respond in humility. Recognize how your sin affects others and worship God.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believed, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

Timothy Keller

Relevant Reflection:

The next time you sin, take yourself through David’s six steps in how to respond to your sin.


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