February 6, 2020

Repentance and Car Maintenance

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 6, 2020

For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the sacred poles, and the carved and the cast images…In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. 2 Chronicles 34:3,8

As N.T. Wright often points out in his commentaries on the Scriptures, repentance in the Bible isn’t simply “feeling sorry about my sin,” though of course that’s a part of what it means to repent. Instead, throughout the Scripture we see repentance is a complete turnaround. To repent is to stop doing one thing and to begin to do another!

I hate getting the oil changed in my car. Why? Because it seems like every time I do, the mechanic comes back to me with a long list of all the other things that need to be fixed! In this example, we could say that they’ve completed step one of diagnosing the problem. But if I take the printout of all the work that needs to be done, put it in the glovebox, and then leave without doing any of the work, I’m no better off! In fact, I’m likely worse off because before I was blissfully ignorant of the repair work needed, yet now I know it, yet choose to not do anything about the need that is right in front of me.

Repentance and car maintenance are perhaps more closely aligned than you or I might think. Identifying sin and brokenness in our lives is only half of the process of repentance. We must identify sin and then begin to live differently, to step out, and like the early disciples, leave the nets immediately and drop everything to follow Jesus.

Though Jesus brings this vision of repentance into perfect clarity, we find it throughout the biblical narrative. For example, I was struck by this two-step vision of repentance while reading 2 Chronicles. In this book we find the people of God swinging wildly between the extremes of complete devotion to the LORD on the one hand, yet when a new king comes to power, moving away from proper devotion and giving themselves fully to idol worship. Buried in the heart of this book is the moving account of Josiah, a king who not only “began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places” (34:3), but then took the second step to “to repair the house of the Lord his God” (34:8).

Purge and repair. Identify and fix. Diagnose and heal. This is the ancient pattern of restoration that the LORD gives to his people. Pray today for the LORD to bring genuine conviction and repentance of sin and the brokenness within your heart and life, but also trust him to give you the courage to move forward in faith and a new way of life!


Father, as we seek to purge our hearts and lives from the stain of sin, would you by your grace remake and restore us into the likeness of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Where in your own life have you stopped short of full repentance? What might it look like for you to not only identify brokenness but to begin to invite the LORD to restore and repair that part of your life?

Related Reading

2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 4:17; 1 John 1:9

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  1. Paul Bauer says:

    This message is so important to me that I will keep it on a tab of my browser for future reminders to either stay on track or to get back on track in my discipleship with the Lord and His Holy Spirit. I so appreciate this ministry and have benefitted for years from it. I am glad to have a part in your work. Blessings on you!

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