Prayer prepares my heart:
Regret is something everyone experiences. We are most familiar with regret as defined by sadness over a missed opportunity, but it can also be defined as sadness in regard to repentance (the Biblical word for change).
What we want to begin praying about this morning is going to combine both definitions. We are going to focus on developing a heart of repentance that relieves us of “Deep Regret,” and this is done by valuing our relationship with God over any and every missed opportunity.
Scripture sets my mind:
Now this type of deep sorrow, godly sorrow, is not so much about regret; but it is about producing a change of mind and behavior that ultimately leads to salvation. But the other type of sorrow, worldly sorrow, often is fleeting and only brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10 Voice
The chance of experiencing a missed opportunity increases the longer we live. In fact, the older you are, the more likely you have regrets, and that one of them is deep. “Deep Regret” is the memory we constantly replay, the emotions which never leave, and the one thing we are convinced has kept us from having the life we had dreamed of living.
This regret is always painful, but when it is attached to spiritual failure (mistakes or sins), it can destroy our faith.
Questions focus my reading:
II Samuel is the book we are going to read for this series of Quiet Times. We want to take our time, so we are going to read two chapters a day, which means you should complete the book in 12 days. The goal in your reading is to discover how David dealt with and overcame devastating regret (most certainly greater than what any of us have experienced).
This is going to be a great study for anyone, but especially those at mid-life who might be wishing they had made a different decision or never made a certain mistake. While reading, remember to keep your focus on David’s relationship with God, not on his success or failure. Questions 1-3 will prepare you to read, while 4-10 will focus you while reading.
- How do you feel about parenting?
- How were you parented?
- How might your view of parenting affect your view of God?
- How does God parent Israel?
- How does God parent David?
- How does God define success?
- How does God define failure?
- Does God want David to feel bad and regret?
- How does David change his definition of success?
- How does David become a better man, husband, father, and leader?
Read, annotate, note:
This is one of the most challenging quiet time sets, and your note-taking should be prolific. There are a number of questions to ask, and if you take them to heart, you will experience a variety of emotions. Your goal in reading is to better understand God because the primary reason we experience “Deep Regret” is that we are looking at life from a human point of view.
From God’s point of view, we have no reason for any regret when the events in our life have drawn us closer to him. If you pay close attention to David, you will see him increasingly derive his esteem from his relationship with God instead of his performance (how perfectly he follows the rules, how much he sins).
Probe, examine, reflect:
Probe your heart for negative and wrong views of God. Instead of taking the negative point of view, spend time looking at everything God does as a positive attempt to parent every life for their own good.
Reflect on how your life regrets could be providing you with a path to draw closer to God and reach a particular destiny he has in mind for you.
Prayer, faith, power:
Pray to trust God with the life he has given you, instead of longing for a life he has given someone else. Renew your faith in God’s love, forgiveness, and the ability to renew you with a fresh start. Sort through deceitful and confusing emotions in prayer.
Ask God to remove these and replace them with an inclination to trust him and pursue your destiny.
How can you be more content with your life? How do you need to start growing, so you can fulfill the destiny for which God has called you?
Select 4-6 people who you can share your regrets with and what you have learned about letting them go. Find out if they think your regrets are setbacks or actually prompts from God to get you moving in a different direction.
Listen a lot and learn; then ask your friends to share how they handle regret.
Decide to trust God to parent you with love, and believe he is going to get you where you want to be regardless of your mistakes and sins.
After all, David made many mistakes and committed many sins, but he never stopped being the king. This is because God is looking for a relationship, not a performance.
Develop three Bible studies based on the life of David, and then find three people in the grip of regret to share them with. Inspire them to let go and take hold of God’s destiny for their lives.