Repentance (radically changing my mind) is of central importance because missing God’s goal (sin) brings God’s judgment. Fellowship with God is only possible through full and sincere repentance (radically changing my mind).
God, through his servants, calls me to change my mind as the only way to escape the judgment and receive the forgiveness and restoration which he offers. I must continually re-think my approach and actions. Jesus demands.
Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. | Revelation 2:5
The call is to radically change my mind. The Greek word for “repentance” derives from a verb meaning “to radically change one’s thinking.” “Repentance” refers to an event in which an individual attains a divinely provided new understanding of their behavior and feels compelled to change that behavior and begin a new relationship with God. While the Greek language can represent the concept of repentance as an independent action, the Hebrew background of the New Testament writers demanded that appropriate actions follow the event of repentance.
Remember Paul’s exhortation:
“Be not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” | Romans 12:2
That is the real deal. Think and act radically differently. Bear fruit that is consistent with a radically different way of seeing things.
The world wants to control your mind, but God wants to transform your mind. This word transform is the same as transfigure in Matthew 17:2. It has come into our English language as the word “metamorphosis.” It describes a change from within. The world wants to change your mind, so it exerts pressure from without. But the Holy Spirit changes your mind by releasing power from within. If the world controls your thinking, you are a conformer; if God controls your thinking, you are a transformer.
God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. As you spend time meditating on God’s Word, memorizing it, and making it a part of your inner man, God will gradually make your mind more spiritual.
I must give Jesus my will. Your mind controls your body, and your will controls your mind. Many people think they can control their will by “willpower,” but usually they fail. It is only when we yield the will to God that His power can take over and give us the willpower (and the won’t power!) that we need to be victorious disciples of Jesus.
We surrender our wills to God through disciplined prayer. As we spend time in prayer, we surrender our will to God and pray, with the Lord, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” We must pray about everything, and let God have His way in everything.
Jesus challenges me to begin each day by surrendering my body to Him, my Master. I spend time with His Word and let Him transform my mind and prepare my thinking for that new day. I pray, and I yield the plans of the day to Him and let Him work as He sees best. I especially pray about those tasks that upset or worry me — and He always sees me through. To have a right relationship with God, we must start the day by yielding to Him our bodies, minds, and wills.
- Luke 3:8–9 — 8 “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 9 “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
- Revelation 2:5 — 5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.
- Ezekiel 18:30–32 — 30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Master God. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. 31 “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Master God. “Therefore, repent and live.”
- Jeremiah 18:7–8 — 7 “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.
- Jeremiah 26:3 — 3 ‘Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’
- Hosea 11:5 — 5 They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria—he will be their king Because they refused to return to Me.
- Jonah 3:10 — 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.