The Bible shows that life’s decisions matter, our actions carry grave consequences. In Israel’s time, King Ahab found this out as much as anyone. Ahab could and should have been a king to lead Israel to follow God. Yet, he allowed evil influences into his life and completely rejected God’s ways.
Listen to these statements:
“Ahab did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those [kings] before him… He considered it trivial to commit sins… he also married Jezebel… and he did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him” (1 Kings 16:29-33 selected)
Later in Ahab’s life the consequences of his life would catch up with him. After worshiping false gods, marrying an evil woman, disobeying God’s commands, taking God’s grace for granted and carelessly living like sin does not matter the time came for him to be held accountable. God sent Elijah to confront Ahab and prophecy his judgment and ultimate death. (1 Kings 21:17-24)
Surprisingly, all of Ahab’s life must have flashed in front of him. It is as if a veil was lifted from his eyes and he realized the reality of all he had done. Surely, a huge turn happened in his mind and he felt the grief of his sin. “When Ahab heard these words [of confrontation and judgment], he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly” (1 Kings 21:27). Ahab faced his moment of regret.
God saw that Ahab’s regret and remorse was sincere and he relented on the measure of his judgment, although not removing it. Sin still must be accounted for regardless of the regret or remorse.
TAKING IT HOME
So, what if you could live life without regrets? What if you could rewind life and have a do over? Well, the short answer is that you can’t. Even as current events have shown in the Kanye West – Taylor Swift – Beyonce drama, your actions will generate a reputation. You cannot unscramble eggs or undo behaviors. And, that means there will be consequences.
However, though you cannot rewind life you can repent life. What I mean is that life will have its regrets and there will be much need for repentance. But the cure for a life of regret, as Ahab, is cultivating a life of repentance each day. Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation, began his “Ninety-Five Theses” saying, “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ… willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” At first glance this may seem disheartening that there will never be any progress in the Christian life. Or it could appear arrogant in that we can sin as much as we want and God’s grace will cover it regardless. Neither of these glances were Luther’s intentions. The point is that a life of repentance is a life of growth and sanctified learning. True repentance is not sorry for the consequences of sin – i.e. being caught – but it is sorry for dishonoring God and His glory in your life.
Therefore, our regret which leads to a sad empty life turns into a life of repentance discovering joy. Regret cannot bring happiness because it is self-centered and will always fall short. Repentance has the power to bring true joy because it is rooted not in personal performance but in Christ’s righteousness. The gospel is our only hope for a life without regret.
– What was your reaction to the Kanye – Taylor – Beyonce drama? How does this relate to this message of a life of regret?
– What is your greatest regret?
– Why do you think Ahab suddenly experienced regret?
– What is the difference between regret and repentance?
– Do you view having a “life of repentance” as depressing or encouraging? Why?
– How does the gospel bring about change and growth, propelling you toward a life without regret?
– Memorize “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10