“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV)
Real, lasting changes in our lives usually begin with some sort of stimulant. There may be an event that occurred, a conversation, or certain consequences that will either challenge or inspire us to make changes. The reality of high blood or diabetes pressure may cause us to respond by changing our diets. The birth of our children may inspire us to become better role models. An experience serving the less fortunate may cause us to change the way we see others and become more gracious toward them.
The greatest stimulant for change is love. It begins with love for God, then love for ourselves and others. Repentance (change of mind, purpose, and direction) happens when we are involved in a loving relationship with God. He reveals to us through scripture and prayer how our actions disappoint him. We should respond out of our love for him by making changes.
When my actions or words hurt my kids I feel sorrow because I love them and always want to see them smile. During those times I’m motivated to not only express my sorrow in apology, but to also make changes so it doesn’t happen again.
In the same way, if we truly love God and want to please him, then we should be motivated to make the changes he desires for our lives.