Remember, Self, that just because you feel remorse for something you have done does not mean you have actually repented. Feeling sorry for sin is not the same as repenting of sin (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). This sorrow you feel, while gratifying because it makes you feel the way you think you should about your sin, is not the same as abandoning your sin.
It is far easier, yes, to continue on in ritual – to confess and feel bad, to cry and say you’re sorry, to make promises and plans and to strive in your own strength to stop sinning. But all that ritual is empty at best and destructive at worst, because all it does is promote fixating on your sin. Self, you cannot fix yourself by fixating on your sin. Truthfully, you can’t fix yourself at all, and you actually worsen your life when the sin you loathe is your focus. If you consume yourself with thinking about your sin in some effort to avoid it, then all you are doing is making that sin your idol.
When you feel sorrow over your sin, Self, confess it and then fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Don’t look at your sin anymore. Cast it aside, idol that it desires to be, and look instead to Jesus. Admit your complete inability to bring about lasting faithfulness to Him in yourself and then get low before Him. Give Him the opportunity to make you grow in righteousness. Talk with Him, read His Word, ruminate on His Truth, fellowship with your Family, be discipled, serve, and all the while persist in asking Him to help you live with Him instead of vainly trying to impress Him and yourself and the world by doing for Him. You are new, Self, and this walk Home is, by and large, just a journey in learning how to live that way.
For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6, HCSB