WEEK 1, DAY 1: REPENT
“Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
Scripture Reference: Mark 1:1-20
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” (Leo Tolstoy)
Repent. It’s such a negative-sounding word, a religious term that seems to fit fire-and-brimstone, street-corner sermons better than it fits our image of Jesus. Many who use it freely today mean it in harsh and judgmental terms, and we don’t like that. It doesn’t sound very loving. It doesn’t even sound very helpful.
As Henry Blackaby says: “Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative.” When we recognize our sin, we prefer to ‘rededicate’ our lives to God. We may even tell others we have resolved to be more faithful to God than we were before we failed Him. Yet the Bible doesn’t speak of rededicating oneself. It speaks of repentance! Repentance indicates a decisive change, not merely a wishful resolution. We have not repented if we continue in our sin!”
What does the word actually mean?
Repentance is not simply a desire to change. The evidence of repentance is not words of resolve, but a changed life. To repent means to have a change of heart and mind that results in a new direction and different actions. It is a reversal of the course we were taking—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, behaviorally, and in all other ways.
You see, the Kingdom of God is a reversal from earth’s status quo. The Kingdom is so different from our old way of thinking, feeling, doing and relating that we’ll need new paradigms and perceptions. That’s repentance—stepping out of the old and into the new.
That means regardless of your past you no longer have to live as a slave or a victim. Repentance means you are no longer a slave but a child of God. The depressed can be happy. That’s repentance. The discouraged can be encouraged. That’s repentance too. The apathetic can choose zeal, the angry can choose forgiveness, the judgmental can choose grace, the immoral can choose purity and the dead can choose life. None of that is possible in our own strength- repentance in that context is simply another standard we cannot live up to. But now that the King is here with His Kingdom… well, that changes everything. Now, our sins, failures and everything that goes with them do not have to define us. Now, through Christ we can “repent and believe the good news!”
— Kenneth Grizzell, Greenwood Park Church of Christ
Take time to contemplate:
- Are there any areas in your life that you are living as a “slave to sin” or “victim” rather than a victorious “child of God?” Repent, and believe the good news.
- How would it change your life (your thoughts and actions) if you truly repented and turned from your old ways and accepted your new strength and standing in Christ?
Father, You are good! Lord, I put my faith in Christ. I turn my back on my sin and the faulty thinking and actions of my former slavery. I accept my standing in Christ and give myself freely to Him. May Holy Spirit reign in me and make me like Him in every way. Use me to bring this good news to everyone I encounter. In Christ I pray. Amen.