What is repentance? Does repent mean to say your are sorry? Does it mean to say your are sorry and really mean it? Repent means to turn away from evil and turn to God. Think with me a moment. The apostle Paul says in Romans 7, ” 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” I believe the apostle Paul is surely among the most Godly men in the bible, and yet he too struggled with sin, but he was out preaching the gospel and doing God’s will. How was he able to do that without having so much guilt it sank him? It finally dawned on me yesterday. When the apostle Paul repented, he changed is mind. He decided, and proclaimed to God and everyone that he turned away from his past misdeeds, and made a decision to hold to the good and serve Jesus. He believed that Jesus had died for his sins, and that he was forgiven. It’s like he woke up one morning, and said something similar to David in Psalm 118. “This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it”. He just decided to turn to God.
Stay with me here, because I have heard a similar message many times before, but I just never got it completely. The act of standing before God, and telling Him you are turning away from Evil and turning to Him, begins a journey that will lead you to overcome whatever bondage has you. There are some traditions in the early church, and still exists in older more traditional churches where someone makes a profession of repentance by turning to the West and saying “I turn away from all that is evil”, and then turning to the East and saying “I turn to God and all that is good”. Try that. Stand up wherever you are, or during your prayer time, and repeat this. It doesn’t mater whether you are facing the East or West, but just tell God you are turning away from all that is evil and turning to him. Then when you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel say. This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Until next time.