The Course Correction We All Need

Date: December 7, 2022

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Matthew 3:8

You can’t begin to follow Jesus without it, and you can’t grow without continuing to do it—we’re talking about repentance.

Alex is a pastor in Ukraine. When he reports on what’s happening in his ministry, he joyfully tells of people who have “repented.” He sends photos of men and women kneeling in prayer, with fellow followers of Jesus surrounding them, praying with and for them. Coming to repentance is essential to being a follower of Jesus and, in Pastor Alex’s faith community, the expectation is that your life will show a change!

Yes, we may be sorry over things that we’ve done. Scripture says that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10). But feeling guilty–even admitting that we’ve been wrong–isn’t repentance.

The word, repentance in the Bible is “metanoia” in the Greek that the New Testament was originally written in. It’s made up of two parts—”meta,” which means change and “nous,” which refers to the mind, including your thoughts, disposition, and preferences. So, when a person repents, it means that they have truly changed their mind about themselves and their behaviors. It means that, with God’s help, they intend to change.

In a military exercise, when a commanding officer calls out, “About-face!” it means that the troops suddenly turn around and march in the opposite direction. Repentance calls for an about-face in our lives. “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God,” Scripture declares (Matthew 3:8).

Yes, confession is needed, and restitution may also be called for. But the evidence of a life surrendered to Jesus is the habit of course correction that God calls repentance.