Growing up in a household of four boys wasn't an easy task. We all still feel kinda bad for my mom, cuz even our dog was a boy. She's making up for it now with all her great daughter-in-laws and grandbabies. Needless to say, me and my brothers got in trouble from time to time.
One of the things my dad used to say when we were causing a ruckus, got in trouble and would swing around like a dog with our tail between our legs to apologize - was "sorry doesn't cut it." Did your dad or mom ever say anything like that? It's a pretty good philosophy when it comes to raising kids, cuz it's not okay to do the same things over and over - no one wants to live with someone like that. Basically my dad was saying that he needed to hear more than just cheap words. Apologies are a start, but he wanted to see that we would pay a bit when we did something wrong, and hopefully learn our lesson.
The only problem is when we carry this view over into our relationship with God. There is a massive temptation to want to "prove it" to God. To show him that we can make up for our sins and be better when we do wrong (cue the penance that we all tend to do when we realize we've done something wrong). Yet the plain and simple message God sent to the world was that we can never get good enough to come before Him - we can never "prove it" enough. Jesus gave everything for us because there was no way we could "prove it."
"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT)
We want to get "good enough" before we come to God, but only Christ's sacrifice will ever be enough.
Jesus commands us to walk with Him and repent, but it starts with the understanding that we are completely dependent on His sacrifice and we can do no more or less - living our lives in utter dependence on the finished work of Christ on the cross. This was the grace-concept John Wesley realized when he wrote in his journal that his heart was "strangely warmed."
Love what David Loveless, Lead Pastor of Discovery Church in Orlando said when we were down there this past month - "we need to admit what is so He can activate what can be."