What Is Repentance?
Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know
You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness – Ephesians 4:22-24
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
More and more these days, it seems that there’s so much evil in the world. We’ve all noticed an increase in the open acts of hate, disrespect, or bad behavior by elected officials, celebrities, and others in positions of power and influence. They’ll make a controversial or derogatory statement, or treat someone abusively or disrespectfully. And, as if on cue, the offenders cap their misdeeds with an apology, before the press and before millions of tv viewers. No punishment is enforced, no fines are paid, no resignations or impeachments are called for: and the next day it’s “back to business as usual”.
We may also see and feel the effects of evil in our own lives. There may even be something that we’ve done in the past which we’ve buried deep inside; its effects still haunt us and affect our actions and others.
What’s really going on?
REPENT, AND BE SAVED
What is repentance? Repentance is an opportunity to change our lives for the better, and to become that which God has created us to be. More than just saying the words “I’m sorry”, true repentance means being sorry. It requires a change in the thoughts and behaviors which go against God’s will. Along with fasting and prayer, repentance is essential to having the best relationship with Christ. As each cell in our bodies is renewed physically, repentance is essential to growth as a human being because it renews us spiritually.
Psalm 19:7 (NKJV) says that “7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul”; Romans 12:2 tells us not to follow society’s ways, but to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Repentance is central to living a life of holiness; turning us away from repeating the sins and offenses that keep us from living our best lives.
So, what must you do to repent?
- Be honest. Our soul reveals actions and behaviors which go against God. In Psalm 19:12-13, King David identifies his misdeeds and asks God to release him from the effects of his innermost faults. Character flaws, hurts, even misconceptions and ideas can hold you back and negatively influence your behavior. Soul searching and reflection help identify and purge those faults (Hebrews 12:14-15).
- Be prayerful. Stay in prayer always. Ask God to cleanse you from the inside out; ask Him to renew your heart (Psalm 51). Pray not only for yourself but also for those who have hurt you (Matthew 6:9-12).
- Be determined to change. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV), God says “ 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. But He also warns in His commandments that your demons can carry forward to your children and their children if you don’t purge them.
- Be teachable. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 speaks of the current age; the world is overwhelmed and weighed down by many temptations which can turn the mind, body, and soul away from God. Turn away from the negative; focus only on that which is uplifting (Philippians 4:8). Holding fast to His Word not only keeps you upright, strong and grounded, but it also enables you to soar higher through Christ.
- Be Loving. God is love. Living in love requires selflessness, understanding, discernment, and wisdom. It requires forgiveness: forgiving others as well as forgiving yourself. Being free of hatred and evil allows love to flow freely through you to others. Repentance is transformational; being loving has the power to transform the mind, body, and soul (Romans 12:2).
“REPENTANCE” MEANS “CHANGE”
No matter what you’ve done or how you’ve lived, God will forgive you. But: you must repent. Ask God for His forgiveness, then do what it takes to change, and to become a new person in Christ. The Bible tells us in Acts 3:19-21 to “repent and be converted” so that we and the earth may be refreshed and restored. And in Acts 20:21, we are all called to turn away from sinful living, and to accept the love found in following Jesus Christ as God’s Kingdom representatives on earth. We are no longer to live just for ourselves, based on our own wants, desires, and hurts. We are to live a new life in liberty; in harmony and alignment with His Will, filled with love for others.
Repent, heal, and go forward refreshed in this season. Through the power of Jesus Christ, all things are possible.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Ephesians 4:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 19:7, 12-13; Romans 12:2, Hebrews 12:14-15, Psalm 51, Matthew 6:9-12, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, Philippians 4:8, 1 John 4:7-21, Deuteronomy 7:9, John 3:16, Acts 3:19-21, 20:21.