July 28 I Wednesday
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” —Matthew 4:17
We may have heard it said before, “We are not sinners because we commit sins. We commit sins because we are sinners by nature.” If we had a plum tree in our garden, the plum tree is not a plum tree because plums grow on it, but plums grow on it because it is a plum tree. If we have a plum tree we do not say in the spring, “I wonder if we are going to have bananas this year, or tomatoes.” We come expecting plums during the harvest for the simple reason that we planted a plum seed, which has grown into a plum tree and that plum tree has a plum nature. In the same way, we are born in a state of separation from God where, by nature, we are sinners. Therefore inevitably, we sin. What we do is not our real problem—it is what we are.
Paul tells us, “I am a creature of the flesh [worldly, self-reliant—carnal and unspiritual], sold into slavery to sin [and serving under its control]” (Romans 7:14, AMP). In this verse, Paul is describing himself apart from God, what we are like in our natural self. Hence, we need repentance.
Often times, when we think of “repentance,” we think of it in terms of being sorry for what we did. Of course, being apologetic for what we did is important and there is a place for it; however, true repentance is much deeper than being sorry for what we did, but a sober recognition that the cause of what we do is what we are. In other words, our problem in life is not what we do but what we are—what we do is simply the fruit or symptom of what we are.
The Greek word metanoeo– for “repent” literally means “to change one’s mind;” it is a compound word that combines meta, meaning “to change,” and noeo– meaning, “to perceive with the mind.” Repentance is not just changing our thinking about what we do, but our understanding of who we are. When our repentance becomes an attitude of our heart, it changes our mind by causing us to turn away from those things that are not of God.
Paul tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we repent and come to Christ, we are giving up our natural old selves, abandoning them to God completely and allowing His Holy Spirit to work in us as His new creation.
Prayer: Lord God, I come to You in repentance of my sins and ask that You renew my mind and allow Your Spirit to work in me to do Your will. Thank You, Lord.