“Repentance is a posture and way of life from which we never advance.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 26, 2023
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15, NKJV
Repentance is both the beginning and end of the Christian life. By “end” I mean the aim toward which we move, the target that we set our hearts and lives upon without wavering or turning aside. As the 7th-century theologian Isaac the Syrian powerfully put it, “This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.”
This life has been given to you for repentance.
What do we make of such a statement? In truth, most of us believe (and act!) as though repentance is a one-off action, something done in the past that has little bearing upon our present or our future. Perhaps a singular moment of conversion comes to mind, a time in your life in which you made a definitive step toward Christ and away from a life of sin and death. For this we can give great thanks—Glory to God! Yet as often as our steps deviate from the narrow path of faith, repentance is needed to bring us back in alignment with the straight and narrow.
And for this reason, repentance is a posture and way of life from which we never advance.
To repent literally means to “change one’s mind.” It is an about-face, a turning away from one vision of life and turning to the world of Christ and his kingdom. Therefore, repentance is required each and every time our minds are captivated by a competing vision that offers purpose or meaning apart from an abiding life in Christ.
In order to “change your mind,” you must be aware of the thoughts, values, and beliefs that make their home in your mind. It is remarkably easy to live an unobserved life, one in which unhealthy habits and positions set up shop without us ever stopping to notice! As such, a key to a life of wisdom is to establish daily habits of reflection and evaluation.
Ask yourself each morning: “In both small and potentially great ways, where is an about-face needed in my thoughts or actions?” “Are there ways my steps have deviated from the way of Christ?” “Are there unhealthy beliefs or patterns of behavior that were once isolated and limited but have now become a regular and consistent part of my daily life?”
Choose today to embrace a life of repentance and discover afresh the joy of turning away from darkness and toward the light and life of Christ.
“This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.”
Father, teach us what it means to daily embrace a life of repentance, and keep us close to your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reflect today in prayer on the ways you can embrace daily acts of repentance, choosing to return to Christ and his great love for you.
Brian & Jenn Johnson: Here I Bow
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