Life is messy because of our sinfulness, foolishness, and bitterness. To get out of messes, we must be committed to change. The Bible’s word for change is repentance. The manner in which the church uses this word has added a negative connotation to it, but it’s in fact a very positive word.
Repentance is a change of your mind toward God and sin. When we change how we think, we change how we feel. It impacts our thinking and emotions. It’s also a change of behavior. See Mark 1:15 states:
The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!
See also Matthew 4:17 and Luke 5:32.
Sometimes, we repent to try to change God, but this does not work.
Repentance is not just about feeling sorry. It should be done in a way to change emotions. Sometimes people are sorry when they get caught, but not for the action.
2 Corinthians 7:10 states:
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
The tax collector who admitted his sin before God went home justified. Luke 18:13 – 14 states:
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
We should repent in a way that changes our emotions.
People usually behave the way they feel and not the way they think.
Luke 3:8 states that we should produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
There are two types of repentance.
1. Repentance is part of salvation.
Acts 2:38 states:
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
See also Jeremiah 15:19 and Ezekiel 18:32.
2. Repentance is part of growth.
Philippians 3:12 states:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
How do we change and repent?
First, we must change what goes into our minds. What are we reading and consuming on TV and the internet? With whom do we spend time? Are we praying to God and listening to Him? We should not separate ourselves completely from others because we must be light and salt, but it’s important to pay attention to the influence that others have on us.
Philippians 4:8 states:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Also, it’s up to us to change what we love.
Matthew 6:21 states
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We must love Christ.
Deuteronomy 6:5 states:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
First, love is a choice, then an emotion. We can love Christ and others because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
Everybody needs to change and repent. Some need to change deep down and go in an entirely different direction. Some need to change for growth.