Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah. —2 Chronicles 32:26
The journey back to where you find the presence of Jesus involves passing through some important stages, one of which is repentance. In part, repentance means admitting you were wrong. Unfortunately, you seldom come to the place of saying "I was wrong" until you are forced to do so. The last thing on earth a person wants to do is admit to being wrong. The natural inclination in all of us is to defend where we are and why. Unless we are forced out of our comfort zone, we will stay in it.
God has to get your attention before you will repent, and He gets it by making you see what you have lost. As long as you can feel you haven't really lost His special presence, you are going to carry on. There are two ways by which you are called to repentance.
1. You admit God's special presence is gone. Rather than continue as though nothing happened, you repent.
2. You get caught—exposed. Someone discovers the truth. Someone "spills the beans." Public shame results.
If you do not admit that God's special presence is gone and repent, God resorts to the second plan—public exposure. When a person is forced to repent because of public exposure, the depth of the repentance remains an open question.
To be granted repentance is a gracious mercy of God. As the Word teaches us, we are "changed ... from glory to glory" as a result of repentance (2 Cor. 3:18, KJV). When a renewed measure of His presence reveals your sin and leads to your forgiveness and greater ability to do God's will ... you have received insight. The worst thing that can happen to a man or woman is to become stone deaf to the Holy Spirit, losing all sensitivity to His voice.
The way back is the way of repentance. It is admitting that you have lost the special presence of God and have been wrong in your thinking and presumption.
Excerpted from The Sensitivity of the Spirit (Charisma House, 2002).