Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...

The Five ‘R’s of Spiritual Renewal

Five thingsI wonder what would have happened if Adam and Eve had repented of their sin of disobedience in the Garden, where not a single weed existed and everything flourished beautifully.

I’m not sure they understood the implications of their actions until the time of confrontation—everything about life at that moment was brilliant; surely, whatever came next would be just as wonderful? Cue the sudden dramatic mood music…

For us as Christians, because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we approach life differently. We know the world or society in which we live is inconceivably falling apart, and we acknowledge our significant role in this decline. Yet, in our personal lives, things do not always proceed as planned. Simply put, we sin, and then sin again, and again. There are aspects of our lives that grieve the Holy Spirit, disrupt our fellowship with Him, and necessitate repentance.

It’s not ‘radical repentance’ that is required, merely repentance; indeed, repentance is either genuine, or it is not. But what is the repentance that God demands of us?

This is not a book, so inevitably much will be omitted, but essentially, I believe we can begin with a 5-in-1 perspective on repentance that will inspire you.

I think you will find this approach both useful and worthy of being copied into your notebook or journal for reflection—it will certainly prompt you to think for a few days. The five elements of repentance that I propose all start with the letter ‘R’. This method, though challenging, stands as a testament to the power of God’s love to redeem and renew. (More ‘r’s, but they are not the ones we are focusing on here!)

So, to begin, we must acknowledge that in our spiritual journey, we all encounter moments that bring us to our knees, moments when our actions (sins) do not reflect the love and teachings of Jesus. It is during these times that repentance offers not just a return to God, but a way to experience His love and grace more profoundly. And that grace, pardon the expression, is available in extravagant abundance.


I want to suggest to you that repentance begins with ‘regret’. It doesn’t end there, but regret is certainly the starting point. Your conscience is seared, the Spirit is convicting you, and upon recognising that you have erred, you change your mind (repent)? No, it’s regret that initiates the process of your reconciliation with God. You regret what you have done, whether it is due to the conviction of the Spirit or because you have been ‘found out’. If you don’t regret your questionable (sin-related) thoughts, words, or actions, then you are akin to a plane attempting to land with one wheel missing.

Regret, often misconceived as mere guilt, acts as the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudge, awakening our hearts to the discrepancy between our actions and God’s holy standards. It’s a godly sorrow, as described in 2 Corinthians 7:10, where we experience a profound sadness not only for the consequences of our sins but for how they sadden the heart of God. This sorrow is not intended to paralyse us but to motivate us into action, guiding us towards repentance. It’s the essential first step in recognising our need for God’s grace. In short, it’s acknowledging that one has done something wrong, overstepped the mark, and that we wish we hadn’t done what we did.


Regret leads us, both conveniently and essentially, to repentance. True repentance is characterised by a sincere desire to turn away from sin and return to God. It is more than merely saying “I’m sorry” and goes beyond regret; it represents a complete turnaround, a decision to abandon the things that separate us from God. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). As C.S. Lewis, a beloved Christian thinker, once articulated, “Repentance is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like.”

Such repentance is not merely an admission of wrongdoing but a transformative change of heart and mind that redirects our path from self to Saviour. It involves confessing our sins to God, a willingness to seek forgiveness, and a committed effort to live in a manner that honours Him. We are not just choosing to go in a different direction, but we are changing our mindset. Regret says, “I did wrong!”, whereas repentance declares, “I see the error of my ways, and I will think differently, mindful of what is honouring and pleasing to God, including in my dealings with other people.”


But what if we merely regretted our ways and repented of our sin?

Sometimes, that is precisely where some individuals halt, only for temptation to strike suddenly, akin to a hungry lion pouncing on an antelope. To fortify repentance, we must incorporate renouncement.

This step is where promises to turn away from sin materialise in daily decisions and actions. It represents a proactive stance against temptations and patterns that previously ensnared us – and it’s an important one. Imagine a cake with vanilla extract added; it’s not the main ingredient, but it completes it. Similarly, renouncement is the essence of the commitment “I won’t do it again,” embodying the total rejection of what is wrong and the embracing of God’s ways.

Romans 12:2 urges us not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, a process that involves both wilful action and the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work within us, affirming our new identity in Christ. Viewing renouncing sin as a deeply personal and transformative step signifies our sincere commitment to leave behind the ways that separate us from God’s love. It’s about acknowledging our sins with humility and choosing a path closer to the light and warmth of God’s grace.

Such an act of turning away from sin, as encouraged in verses like Proverbs 28:13 and Acts 3:19, is not merely about avoiding wrongs but is a heartfelt declaration of our desire to embrace a life that reflects the goodness and purity of God’s intentions for us, opening our hearts to the healing and redemptive power of God’s forgiveness.


So far, we have explored regret, repentance, and renunciation. The fourth element of our five-in-one pill for spiritual health is restoration. Repentance involves more than simply regretting our actions; it encompasses making amends for them, renouncing our old ways, and not stopping there. Otherwise, we might feel as though God is merely tolerating us. However, something wonderful accompanies repentance: restoration.

Restoration lies at the heart of God’s forgiveness. It is the action through which God mends what was broken and breathes new life into our weary souls. Through this process, we find ourselves not just forgiven but renewed, not only saved from something but for something.

1 Peter 5:10 reassures us, “the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” God’s desire is not only to forgive us but also to restore us to a right relationship with Him, ourselves, and others, and includes the healing of our hearts, the renewal of our minds, and the mending of broken relationships. That forgiveness reflects the fullness of God’s continuing redemptive work in us, restoring our identity and purpose in Christ. It’s the happiest news on earth! God is with us and for us, not against us, reconciling, redeeming, renewing, and restoring, not once, twice, or 490 times, but as the loving, tender, and very kind God that He is, every time we come in repentance to Him… There’s more good news, but that’s for the theologians…


Here’s our fifth part: Integral to this journey is reading God’s Word. Scripture is where we find conviction, guidance, encouragement, and the revelation of God’s will. It is through engaging with the Bible that we learn what God requires of us and how we can align our lives with His purposes. Hebrews 4:12 encourages us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

When we consider the 40-day fast during which Jesus was tempted by Satan, His response to the temptations each time was “It is written.” For us, if you don’t know what is written, you won’t know what God requires of you! Godliness does not come by chance; we give ourselves to the Word of God, allowing it to judge the thoughts and intents of our heart. By reading Scripture, we invite God to speak into our lives, transforming us from the inside out and equipping us to face each day with wisdom and grace.

In effect, we regret what we have done, consider our ways, and change our mind about what we have done (note to self: I see that conflicts with God’s Word or Will) and ‘that’ is not for me; I will never do it again… I will give myself to the Word of God and obey the Lord, knowing He always has the best intent for me.


Our journey with Christ in this life is not static but dynamic, characterised by moments of falling and rising, wounding and healing, drifting and returning. Through regret, repentance, renouncement, and restoration, we experience the depths of God’s grace, the transformation of our character, and the boundless possibilities of life in the Spirit; it is a continuous cycle of spiritual growth.

Each step is grounded in an aspect of God’s relationship with us—His call to leave behind what is harmful, His invitation to return to Him, His promise to renew us, and His guidance through His Word. As we walk this path, we find ourselves drawing closer to God, experiencing the fullness of His grace, and living out the abundant life He has promised us in Christ.

Embracing these five pillars—regret, repentance, renunciation, restoration, and reading the Bible—can truly transform your life. It involves being honest with yourself and God, offering sincere apologies, and then earnestly striving to avoid the pitfalls that led you astray initially. It’s about mending what’s broken, not just with God but with people too. And throughout this process, keeping the Bible close serves as a guide, providing the strength and wisdom to progress.

This encounter is about growth, healing, and evolving into the person you’re meant to be, with a faith that is vibrant, active, and deeply rooted in God’s truth.

Embracing these five elements as an understanding of repentance might be more beneficial than you can imagine!

The Five ‘R’s of Spiritual Renewal
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