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Repentance and Changing Your Mind

March 1, 2024
Yorba Linda
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As we continue this road to Easter, celebrating our own version of “Lent,” we’re going to spend each week focusing on practices that we can be deliberate about to help us focus on Jesus and attend to our spiritual lives just as deliberately as we attend to our physical lives. This week, Teaching Pastor Chris Ward looks closer at the practice of “repentance.”

The word “repentance” can strike some as a somewhat frightening word. It definitely has the feel of an “old-fashioned”-type word and for some it can bring up memories of uncomfortable childhoods, sitting in seats where “fire and brimstone”-style teachers warned about the dangers of hell. And therefore, repentance can bring to mind images of a stern God who sits up in heaven, waiting for His creation to make a mistake so that He can punish them for every little wrongdoing.

But that’s not what “repentance” is all about. The Greek word translated as “repent” in our Bible is the Greek word metanoeo, which is actually two Greek words put together—meta, meaning “with,” and noeo, meaning “mind.”Metanoeo therefore means, quite literally, to think a certain way about something—to think “with” one’s “mind” about something.

And at its core, that’s what repentance is. You see, our behavior is almost the product of our thinking. And that’s the case with the sinful behavior that we exhibit. Why do we sin? We sin because, in the moment we decided to sin, we decided it was a good thing to do—we decided we wanted to do it. What is repentance, then? Repentance is changing our mind about that. It’s recognizing that God’s Word, not our sin, is what is good. And therefore, repentance is choosing to think differently about our sin and deciding to follow God’s Word and not our own way.

And you know what is the beautiful thing about repentance? It’s always met by God with His grace, not His condemnation. In fact, I have often said that some of the moments in my life where I have most experienced God’s love and grace have been following moments of repentance. Therefore, far from being a “scary” thing, repentance is really an invitation to know and experience the presence of God more.

Is there an area in your life this week where you need to repent? Don’t hesitate in doing it. Don’t worry; God is not waiting up in heaven to punish you. Like a knowing spouse, He’s pleased when you change your mind and see things His way! And He won’t hesitate to invite you into His presence with grace and mercy. That’s why as God’s people, let’s run—not walk—in the ways of repentance.