First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20
Repentance. We don't hear that word much today, do we? We talk a lot about "trusting in Jesus," "having your sins forgiven" and "having a personal relationship with God," but the repentance thing gets left out. What does repentance mean, and why did Paul preach that people should repent?
The word "repent" means "to feel remorse." It means "to change one's mind and direction." I am living life and living large. I am headed my own way doing my own thing. But then, God gets my attention ... maybe through a conversation with a friend, through the birth of a child, through the emptiness of success, or through the dark night of failure. God stops me in my tracks, and I repent. Instead of walking away from Him, I turn to Him. My repentance is shown to be real by my deeds. I am a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come.
Let's get personal about repentance. Have you turned from your old way of life to the new? Have you moved your residence from "darkness" to "light"? Was there a time when you made the decision to stop walking away from God and walk towards Him? Has anyone around you noticed a change--in behavior, words, and/or attitude--since you have trusted in Christ? Being a Christian is not about future "life insurance"; it's walking with Christ today. When you follow Jesus, repentance will be demonstrated by your deeds.
Jesus, there was a day when I said a prayer, but honestly there has been no change in my life. Right now I repent. I am sorry for my sin. I am sorry for walking away from You. I am sorry for living a life that I know displeases You. Please change me from the inside out. I want to demonstrate my true repentance by my actions. In Jesus' name. Amen.