Over halfway through Lent and I have been trying to keep faithful to my Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving goals that I set on Ash Wednesday. As I reflect today at my halftime so to speak, I am realizing my true goal and hope for this Lenten season is to get closer to God. The element that is keeping me away is sin. So, to get closer to God I need to repent my sins.
REPENTANCE. That is a word with a lot behind it. What is your definition? Stop for second, and say your definition of repentance out loud. Right now.
OK, as you stumble over those words, you realize that there are many aspects of repentance and that there are even different types of repentances. Questions that I ask myself today are:
- Do I just regret my sins?
- Do I just want to stop my sinful actions because I have changed my mind because I know that they are bad?
- Do I really truly hate my sin so much that have a change of mind and purpose of life – a true change of heart?
There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance.
(1) The verb metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).
(2) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with
(3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.
As I read those definitions, I thought, I want number 3. I want a repentance that is not only a change of actions, but a change of heart that changes the purpose of my life and that I can commit to that promise of sinning no more. The problem is that I cannot do it by myself. It is not a will power test. My human nature will lead me to sin. The way to repentance is the way to Jesus. Jesus will be the one that helps me to make my repentance. If I can achieve it, it will be because of Him, not me.
So, my prayer for today for me and for you, is that we are able to have a repentance that is more that just saying I won’t do that action anymore. My prayer is that we all have a little of that repentance that is a true change of heart, that really touches our soul, and gives us a change of mind and a change to the purpose of our life.