The Courage to Repent

August 7, 2023 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Rachael Sales   

How does someone who’s been late and unprepared all of their lives repent into a lifestyle of organization and preparedness? How does a quick-tempered wife and mother repent into a lifestyle of gentleness and patience with her husband and children? How does the drug addict repent into a life of drug free living? Such are the mysteries of mankind and in the silence of such unanswered questions lies evidence of the world’s need for a savior.

There is a saying that says if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. In a world that defines you by your past actions, rather than your future endeavors, the ability to change one’s mode of operation – to live repentant is not easy. Yet, this is the very command that precedes the coming of the Christ, as heralded by John the Baptist: Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand! was John’s mainstay.  What John was saying to us all is Change the Way you think, for the Christ and His way of living has come. The Messiah that the prophets spoke of and died in hopes of had come, and a new mindset was needed to receive Him. This command to Repent is the same today. The Christian walk has a steady demand for constant change by renewing of the mind and leaving old ways behind and Saints, this is work!

In the world, prior to salvation, many of us were able to alter certain behaviors in an instant if given the right catalyst to do so.  Whether it was our grades in school, an increase in salary or the favor of someone we admired, changing our actions was quite doable given the right catalyst and reward for doing so. (It doesn’t take a real heart-change for the typically late worker to arrive on time for the right amount of pay increase.)  The issue with such “pseudo-repentance” is that it was usually based on the reward that came with it rather than the result of a true change of heart. More specifically in a situation like increase on a job, would we voluntarily render more excellent service if the raise had not come? If the object of our desire never returned the admiration, would our vulnerable hearts remain loving in the face of rejection simply because it was right to do so?  I’d venture to say no, just as most of you would. Such change was merely temporal.

This is not the case in the Kingdom of our God. As we move closer to Him, He reveals the hidden parts of us that must be changed permanently because He commands it. He shows us that the reward of such change is being more like Him, which may actually result in persecution from the world. What’s more is that the repentance is often commanded in areas of our lives that are seemingly impossible to change. For me, the lifestyle of contention was one such area. I had grown up seeing very strong-willed, contentious women in my family, and I saw no evidence in them nor in me, that I could be the meek and quiet spirited wife spoken of in 1 Peter 3:4. I had to hope against hope, believe against belief that Christ had made me that by His blood and consistently confess the Word over it. I had to do this in the face of natural evidence telling me that I was argumentative, full of strife, angry, and rebellious against my husband’s authority. It takes courage folks. It has taken courage to first of all declare that I am a wife of submission because I know that by the Words of my mouth I am justified or condemned (Matthew 12:37). So the moment that I say it, I must back it up. How does one back up a statement proclaiming that they are the exact opposite of what they have been all of their lives? How does one stand in the face of the wrong that they have been doing and walk away from the pleasures of living that way?

The Bible lets us know that man is incapable of changing such errors of the heart and for this cause we need a Savior. While a man may be able to change his actions, only Christ can correct the inner man that is behind our actions. Romans 2:4 states that the goodness of God brings man to repentance. Only the loving heart of a gracious God is good enough to draw the heart of a man to permanent change. At my church, our apostle teaches us that the first step to such a new life is the confession of the former behavior as sin, for the Lord is just to forgive us. The next step is the repentance, or the turn away from that now past life. Following this, we must apply the Word of God to that area until it is transformed into the attributes that we have spoken. No matter what illusions of the past arise, nor what past opinions come to define us, the repented life must defy and outlive the lie until the results show up in the natural. Finally celebrate everything revealing evidence of the changed life, no matter how small the appearance. Change is sure to show up and when it does all who knew you before will know there is a God in Israel!


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