All of us have found ourselves in one of two categories of people at different times in our lives. We have either needed to repent about something we have done to someone else or someone else needs to repent for what was done to us. The word “repentance” is used so commonly in the church that it has lost a lot of its impact. But, it remains a vital part of every Believer’s spiritual growth and maturity. It is important that we understand what it really means.
I have taught on the subject of repentance throughout the years of my ministry. Most of the time, I defined it as “a change of direction, to turn around.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was promoting the idea that repentance is a “change of behavior.” That is Biblically incorrect. The Greek word for repentance is metanoia. It is a compound word; the prefix is “meta” which means to “change.” The main part of the word is noia which means “mind or understanding.” So, the actual meaning of the word is “to change one’s mind.” Therefore the definition of repentance is “to change your mind or to believe differently.”
A lifestyle of repentance is a continual surrender of your heart to God and adjusting your belief system to God’s. Unless our belief system is changed, our focus becomes about behavior modification rather than a true change of the heart.
When we experience a relationship that is broken, we need to discover what God says regarding the proper way of dealing with the brokenness of that relationship. When we make the choice to embrace a lifestyle of repentance, we respond to the need for reconciliation because our view of the broken relationship is determined by God’s value system and not our feelings and emotions. We intentionally surrender our feelings, emotions and rights to the spiritual truth revealed by God through His Word. This is the act of allowing spiritual truth to “change our minds”, therefore we respond in obedience based on what we have been instructed.
Since repentance is “a change of mind”, we must receive God’s word and adjust our belief system to His. When we do this, our behavior will be changed. This is what makes reconciliation possible. It does not depend upon our terms and is not focused on the offense. It depends on God’s grace and we act in obedience on what know to be true; regardless of how we feel.Categories: blog