From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
As part of the preparation for our 40 day Jesus Fast, one of our big prayer points was repentance. I’ve been stuck on this word for quite some time now. It’s a concept that goes against everything our culture tells us.
See, our culture teaches us phrases such as, “Don’t get mad, get even.”, Or one that I’m personally working on, “I’m sorry IF….” Or “I’m sorry but…..” So the idea of repentance really makes me think.
This week, during the first part of our fast, I was brought to tears when I was doing an in depth study of repentance. I shared some of what I’m about to share with our dream team (our volunteer team at our church), but I didn’t feel like I dug deep enough into why this is so important.
I realized I can’t do a study on repentance without also studying conviction and forgiveness.
Before we can repent, we have to have a conviction. Conviction is one of the most uncommon things to ever happen to a person. A conviction is something that you do, and all of a sudden Holy Spirit says, “No! That’s not right. Stop that.” That’s Holy Spirit bringing us to the presence of God.
Yes! Conviction is entering into the presence of God. (John 16:8) This means something. And it’s big. Conviction shouldn’t bring on shame. See, when we enter into the realm of conviction, it’s not our relationships with man that disrupts us, instead, it’s our relationship with God that feels the disruption. (Psalm 51:4). Conviction should bring us closer to God.
Conviction, repentance and forgiveness are so potently connected, that it’s actually intertwined into the very foundation of our faith.
The beginning of kingdom living is through the abrupt discomfort of repentance (sparked by conviction) that collides with our worldly lifestyle.
Repentance, in the greek is metanoia. It literally means “to change your mind”, but the implication in scripture is to turn around, to face a new direction. That sounds easier said than done, because as I said earlier, there is a Holy Spirit element to it. You will need Holy Spirit to carry you through the conviction and the repentance, and it is so worth it!!
Repentance isn’t just something you do, and that’s it. There are things that happen on earth, and in your life when you feel conviction that leads you to repentance.
1. Heaven comes to earth. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
This is big. This isn’t just a phrase that we pray. When Heaven comes to earth, miracles, signs and wonders begin to take place. You’ll start to notice it all around you. Not only in people, but Chronicles says that our land will be healed. We have the opportunity to be culture disrupters through the act of repentance.
2. Heaven has a party – “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7
All of Heaven celebrates when you repent. Not just the “first” act of repentance that leads to salvation, but all repentance after that!
3. You gain Knowledge – “Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,I will make known to you my teachings.” Proverbs 1:23
As we repent, we gain a deeper revelation to God’s word! Have you ever felt stuck, or maybe mumbled the phrase “It’s just hard for me to remember scripture.” The Bible says that when we repent He will pour out His thoughts to us.
4. You get the gift of the Holy Spirit – “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”” Acts 2:38
How cool!? As we repent (and get baptized) Holy Spirit is a gift that we receive! I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty encouraging! Then I can truly step into my calling, with an infilling of Holy Spirit to work where I can not.
5. You’re forgiven – “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:19
You don’t have to walk in shame. There is no condemnation in Christ. It says it right there. Your sins will be blotted out. So once you repent, you’ll feel a weight lift! That’s the mercy of God! That’s guilt, shame and embarrassment lifting from you and being replaced with joy, peace, love and acceptance!
So, how does this apply to me? Well, ask Holy Spirit to help. Remember, you don’t decide your convictions. He does. You don’t decide what you need to repent for, Holy Spirit does.
Ask God to speak to you.
Listen for the whisper.
you’ll hear it. You’ll know what it is.
Change Your Mind.
When you hear it, you know to act. Repent and be forgiven.
God, we ask you to convict us in supernatural ways. Speak to us about the things in our life that don’t line up with what you’ve called us to do. Speak to us about the things that we seem OK with that is hindering us to fulfill our commission to “Go forth and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19). Make us uncomfortable for your glory. Disrupt our lives to bring us closer to you!
In Jesus’ name!