For a number of years I have made it a practice this time of the year to review the year that has just ended, and decide if I need to make some adjustments in my life for the coming year. This is a practice that is common to many people whether one is a professional, businessman, laborer, homemaker or minister. Every year I come to the conclusion that I need to repent!
Before you panic, let’s take a closer look at that word repent. There may be fewer words more misunderstood by Christians than this one. This was the message John the Baptist proclaimed, and it was the first message that the Lord Jesus preached. The Greek word in the New Testament they both used means, “To have another mind”. In Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary it reads, “To perceive afterwards, implying change”. In any case a study of the Bible reveals that true repentance is more of a process than an individual procedure.
First of all there must be an acknowledgement that something is missing! After all there is such a thing as doing the right thing in the wrong way. It is possible to attempt the worship and service of the Lord in the energy of the religious flesh. In 1st Samuel 7:2 after the Philistines had returned the Arc of the Lord they had captured for seven months, “All the house of Israel lamented after the Lord”! One would think that with all that is going on in our world today it would not be too hard for believers to recognize that we are missing something!
Secondly, there needs to be an agreement. 1st John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, God will be faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins. The Greek word translated into our English word confess means, “To say the same thing”. That is what Biblical confession means: To say the same thing God is saying. It is so easy to try to put the blame on someone else! Nehemiah did not do that in 1:6 as he confessed the sins of the nation. He started by praying, “Confessing the
sins of the sons of Israel”, but in mid-prayer the pronouns change as he continues, “as WE have sinned against you, I AND MY FATHER’S HOUSE have sinned!”
But there is a third step in this process, and that is abandonment. Agreement with the Truth must be accompanied with adopting the Truth! Years ago there was a tribe of Indians in South America who were dying at an alarming rate from infections. Specialists discovered insects in the walls of their adobe homes that were biting and infecting them. They were presented with a choice. They could continue to stay where they were, or they could move to a new location, build new homes and live. The choice was theirs! We can never know and experience the victory that is ours in Christ Jesus as long as we are content to live in the misery of defeat!
Heavenly Father, help us as your children to face the truth of where we are as believers, agree with You as to why we are here, and move on to the joy and victory you have for us in 2016!