I feel pretty confident that we are all aware that the word “repent” means to stop what you are doing, turn around, and go the opposite direction. Somehow, that has evolved into a mixture of confession and warning of impending danger.
Jesus preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Here lies the summary of all that Jesus taught. But what did it entail? He taught us to seek His Kingdom and Righteousness, how to pray, how to heal, how to deliver people; He taught against the Law, the Pharisees, and the old way of life; He taught about Holy Spirit coming to equip, counsel, and teach us; He taught about spirit and life; but mostly, He taught about His Father, and how we need a loving relationship with Him. So, biblically, all of Jesus’ teachings are summarized as Repent, for the Kingdom of God is here.
Christianity has mostly changed the emphasis of repent to mean “try harder, and stop doing bad.” Paul explains, however, that the key to repentance is to be transformed by the renewal of your mind, which means that repentance comes with transformation. But how do any of us transform? There has always been a way that God intended for man to be transformed from fleshly desires to spiritual desires: Love. “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (John 14:23)
God wants us to have a relationship with Him, to call Him Father, and to love Him. It’s from this place of a pure love relationship that things happen. We don’t transform by our willpower or our regrets. There are many who want to repent, they try so hard, with deep desires to stop doing what they have always done, but they can’t seem to get free. Why?? Because transformation and repentance have nothing to do with our desires or efforts. We only transform from spending quality time with someone we love. Spend time with someone new, and you will see that your likes and dislikes change the more time you are with them. You will see things from a new perspective, and learn to appreciate things you never did before.
God wants the same for us, to spend time with Him and to learn to see things from His perspective. The more we spend time with God, the more we will learn to enjoy the things He does as well as learning how and why He does the things He does. We learn about humility, kindness, compassion, patience, grace, and love. Our faith grows, and we compromise to things of this world less. We are transformed, and repentance is a natural response to this pure love relationship.
So go spend some time with Him. Talk with Him. Fall in love with Him. Seek Him. Listen to Him. Ask Him questions and get to know Him. He won’t tell you to say you’re sorry, but will tell you how wonderful you are. He will tell you why He created you, and about all the wonderful hopes He has for you. He will tell you how much He cares about you, and how His heart has hurt for you when bad things happen to you. He doesn’t need your, “I’m sorry.” He needs your love. He doesn’t want your condemnation and guilt, because He wants you to be the way He created you. That is what repentance really is.
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