We know that the good news of God through Jesus Christ calls us to repent. In the original language, this word “repent” literally means to “change one’s mind or purpose.” Therefore, to repent is to change, and specifically to change by submitting our mind and purpose to God.
When some people decide to repent, they focus on outward things. They say, “God, what do you want me to do with my life? Where do you want me to go?” Usually, however, God wants you to keep living the life you have been living…but to do so with a changed mind and a changed purpose. If you are a husband, He wants you to make that husbanding a gift to Him. In other words, stop doing the husbanding for what you get out of it and start doing it for the glory it can bring God. It means you stop looking for a 50/50 relationship with your wife. It means in the numerous little exchanges that occur between you and your wife, that you look at each one as an opportunity to demonstrate to God how much you love Him…by putting her well-being ahead of your own.
As it is with husbands, so it is with wives, children, parents, employers, employees, and so on. Jesus didn’t come to change everyone’s occupation, He came to change – and to dramatically change – the way each person fulfills his or her occupation.
I describe the change required as dramatic because this is the way Jesus described it. Only when we take repentance seriously do we begin to realize how selfishly we have been living. This is just as true for churchgoers as it is for nonchurchgoers. Most church programs are designed to meet the perceived needs of the members or prospective members. Therefore, when you go to church it’s usually to meet some need you have or think you have. That has nothing to do with repenting and becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.
True repentance means to live for the ideals of the one true God – Jesus Christ, your Creator. Nothing less. This cannot help but require radical change in your inward thinking processes. For one thing, you will be conscious of Him all day long. Before, you used to think as a lone individual. All your thoughts were private, except for the ones you chose to reveal to others. Living for Jesus means living with Him. You think your every thought aware that He is listening to it as well.
If you understand this, you know that this is no small amount of change. Granted, almost all of it is of your interior monologue…so most of the world will be unaware. But you will be keenly aware. You are a changed person.
Repentance is no mild change. Unless you are willing to experience radical change of your thought life, you cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The good news about all this change is that it is for the good. That is, this is true improvement in the quality of life you live. It is living God’s life…with Him.