I pulled out our trusty Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance this morning to look up the word “repent.” In the Scriptures the word repent or a derivation of it is used 116 times. Now if you think of the overall corpus of the canon it doesn’t seem like much. And yet I would suggest to you that it is one of the most important words in scripture – repent.
In the Common English Bible they have substituted the phrase “changed hearts and lives” for the word repent. I guess that is okay – it gets the gist across to the reader. But from my Baptist roots “repent” has such a stronger tone and command to it. It means a willfulness or fortitude to turn from something to something else. In the Biblical sense – to turn from sin to righteousness found in the on-going application of God’s grace. But I want to provoke you to something deeper.
We might be tempted to think of repentance as simply a mental exercise. “Oh I was wrong to think or believe this and so now I believe the opposite” – usually it is attitude, negativity, or distrust turned around to constructive interaction, optimism, and openness. On one level this is true – repentance begins as a concious choice AND it becomes a physical part of your being. True repentance is mind, soul, and BODY. The Bible uses the word “turn” – for instance “…if My people which are called by My name will turn from their wicked ways and humble themselves…” There is a physicality to repentance – in other words your actions have to change as well.
Last Sunday was our Day of Prayer for the Healthy Church Initiative. Thank you to everyone who was present and for those who were in prayer with us even though not able to be present. It was a day of repentance and for this to be true it requires us to “turn”…head in a different direction.
What ways do you see us “turning” as a church? In what way do you need to repent? When was the last time you had a change of heart and life? What did it feel like emotionally and physically (liberating, exhilarating, relief, to name a couple of examples)?
Your thoughts and comments are welcome – come join me as we talk about repentance and the change of heart and life it demands.
Blessings for the journey!