“Flight Attendants, prepare for takeoff.” Door armed—-check. Galley secured—check. Make necessary Public Announcements—check. Collect Pre-departure drink—check. Walk through cabin for safety inspection—check. Engines roar and flight attendants take their seat. Wheels up. Destination: unknown.
If you are a Christian, this is a season of prayer and repentance. We prepare our hearts to receive spiritual renewal as we approach Easter: the day Jesus rose from the dead and gave us new life.
Repentance is often defined as turning around and going in a different direction. It is intended to mean we turn away from sin and walk in the righteousness of God. However, this focuses on our outward behavior and results in our striving to perform better. Because we focus on behavior rather than our heart thoughts and attitudes, we end up in a perpetual cycle that most often leads to failure.
The Greek word for repent means to change any or all the elements composing one’s life: attitude, thoughts, beliefs, and behavior concerning the demands of God for right living.
Last summer, I was listening to a teaching on 2 Corinthians 5:16 by Pastor Alan Smith. He said, “on the basis of the cross and resurrection we can no longer regard anyone according to the flesh because, when Jesus died, everyone in Christ died”.
Woah! Really? I’m now required to see a new (changed) person? Too easily and more often than I care to admit, I found myself judging someone according to their past instead of looking at them with fresh eyes.
This revelation has changed what I believe and how I think. From glory to glory, I’m being transformed.
Our thoughts are based upon what we believe and often shape our attitudes. We act by what we believe in our heart to be true. Just as a tree will not produce ripe and lush fruit unless is it nurtured and cared for properly, neither will we.
The Psalmist wrote, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from my Faults”(Psalm 19:12 NKJV). Cleansing is a process that begins by looking inward at your heart. Earnestly seek God and ask him to show you the error of your ways. He is faithful and will reveal them. Next, confess your sin and ask for God’s forgiveness. It is easy to agree with God in your mind about your sin but, if you haven’t changed your heart about the matter, it’s likely your behavior won’t change.
Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart.” Having a contrite heart has to do with godly sorrow. We are overcome with guilt and desire to make things right in the eyes of God. It’s similar to a child’s desire to please his father because he loves him. We are sorry for our sin because we love God. This godly sorrow works repentance in our heart.
Prepare for a heart change. Seek God in prayer—check. Listen—check. Confess your sin before God—check. Ask God’s forgiveness—check. Receive God’s forgiveness—check. Forgive yourself and others—check. Now relax and enjoy the flight. Destination: renewal
If you are struggling in any area of life, consider praying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”(Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).
God loves you so much that he gave his only unique Son for you (John 3:16). There’s nothing you have done or will do that’s greater than Christ’s blood shed for you.