What does it take for you to change your mind? Sometimes, for us, it can take days, months and maybe even years to weigh up all the information needed to change our minds. We don’t tend to change our minds quickly because we perceive that we are right. In everything!
Have you ever had someone try to change your mind on a topic, and they begin to force their opinion more on to you, they talk over you, and you can’t get a word in edgeways, so you just stop listening? We’ve all been there. It’s times like that I wish I were like Obi-Wan using his Jedi mind tricks in Attack of the Clones when Elan tried to sell him some death sticks, and he waves his hand, saying, “You want to go home and rethink your life.” I would love to think if I had that ability, I would use it for some noble cause and make the world a better place, but to be honest, I would be running around the football pitch changing the referee’s mind. Not cool, I know, but it’s honest.
When Jesus arrived on the scene 2,000 years ago, he came with a simple message of repentance. I know the connotation this word brings up in our minds; for some, we think of a turn or burn preacher; for others, we think of being remorseful for something we said or done; for others, it simply means being sorry. The word – repentance – means much more than that. Jesus emphasis on repentance is no accident. To repent simply means we are to change our minds, to think differently. The truth is that we cannot be changed by the gospel unless we are willing to change – unless we repent.
Without repentance, we will continue to live for ourselves think about ourselves. Repentance causes us to see how inadequate we are and our need for God. I’ve said it many times before. As a child of God, I believe we should be experts at repentance. I am not saying that every time you repent, you are getting saved all over again, absolutely not. I mean that repentance becomes the point through which we align ourselves rightly with God and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.
I don’t follow a hyper-grace teaching that we don’t need to repent again. I do believe that if we as children of God will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and listen to his voice, we will hear Him speak to us when we do something that grieves the Spirit in our lives. It’s at that moment we have a choice. We can either harden our hearts and turn a deaf ear to God’s Spirit, or we can allow the Spirit to deal with us profoundly and produce in us a desire to live right. I believe God is willing to work in us and through us, but we must have hearts that want to respond positively to His dealings with us.
I don’t want to be part of something that does not produce change. If someone truly repents and changes their mind, I believe it should lead to fundamental transformation that is genuine. Where there is absolute peace in life, a deep-rooted joy of the Lord because we are no longer following the world but have repented and changed the course of our lives through Jesus.
The reason we can change is because of Jesus. He is the one who brings a change in our lives, but He wants us to change our minds, not about which football team we support or what food we like, but about the direction of our lives. Repentance should lead us to a place of real, genuine transformation.
John the Baptist came out with some pretty heavy statements at times and one of those times in Matthew 3:7,8 “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”
That sounds pretty harsh, but what he is saying here is this – stop obsessing over things that don’t matter, like religious rituals and trying to look suitable for other people because that won’t cut it when it comes to the kingdom of God. Only genuine repentance – an actual change of mind evidenced by how you live is enough. Our actions become the outward proof of an inward transformation.
I try to keep this light-hearted and all but let me blunt for one minute. Sin I sin. There is no way around it. God does not have some grading system of sin where one sin is bigger or smaller than the other. To Him, it is a sin. To God, sin is serious business. In fact, it was so severe and our plight so dire that He sent his son 2,000 years ago to take our sin, shame and punishment to a cross to die in our place. The call to live a repentant life is not glib, nor should we treat sin in our lives as something that doesn’t matter and brush it under the carpet. If it matters to God, it should matter to us.
We can’t hang on to our sin and expect a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus. Sorry to burst any bubbles out there; I can hear them popping. If you know that there is this one persistent sin that you have been kinda pushing around and not dealing with, then there is one thing that needs to be said – It’s time to change your mind – It’s time to repent.