Repentance is the practise of the righteous. We must constantly turn our hearts to God
Repentance is such an often misunderstood concept. Contrary to what many people think, repentance is not a dirty word. It’s not just for the sinner who wants to get saved, nor is it just for those who are committing gross sins and living in blatant immorality. For the child of God repentance should be a lifestyle. To repent means to “turn,” to change one’s mind and direction. But here is where many people misunderstand. We tend to think of repentance as primarily turning away from something, as in turning away from sin and making a one-hundred-eighty-degree change to the opposite direction. But this is missing the real point. For example, a sinner could turn away from a sin and still be lost. In fact, there are many religions that teach morals and abstinence from various sins, but that in and of itself does not save anyone. Therefore, from the Christian perspective, what you turn away from is not really the issue. It is what you turn to that makes the difference.
Sometimes repentance may have nothing to do with sin. It may simply be a correction in mind-set or attitude.
If we think of repentance only as a one-hundred-eighty-degree turn, then we fail to understand that sometimes a minor but crucial fine-tuning is necessary to keep us calibrated with the heart of God. If I am hiking through the wilderness and look at my compass and notice that I am only two degrees off course, I don’t turn one hundred eighty degrees and go in the opposite direction, because if I did, I would still be going in the wrong direction! Instead my goal is to recalibrate myself so that I am once again moving toward my desired destination. If I am only two degrees off course, I still must turn, even if it is a slight adjustment, to align myself with the right direction. Repentance is the practise of the righteous. We must constantly turn our hearts to God—from darkness to light, from the flesh to the Spirit, from the temporal to the eternal, from death unto life.
With this understanding repentance takes on a whole new meaning. If I have lusted, lied, or stolen, if I have missed God’s will because of disobedience, I must repent, yes. But I am not just repenting or turning away from those sins. I realise that those sins are actually a symptom of a deeper and more serious problem: that I am moving in a direction away from Christ. If there is sin in my heart or if I am not walking in God’s will, it shows me that my heart is not toward Christ. I must refocus my heart and recalibrate it to point my whole being toward Christ. Sometimes repentance may have nothing to do with sin at all. It may simply be a slight correction in mind-set or attitude that brings our spirits back into alignment with the Spirit of God.
Turn to Jesus, and you will automatically turn from sin. Turn to Jesus, and you will always be facing in the right direction. If you have missed God’s will, you need to stop moving in the wrong direction, acknowledge your mistake, and then get your heart realigned with Christ.
God has a plan for everyone.
Do you know yours?
This Bible Study has been taken from Chapter 5 of Daniel Kolenda's book, LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE, which is not only a 'wake up call' for you but also offers practical and scriptural insights on how you can discover and fulfil God's will for your life.