What Does Real Repentance Look Like?


God tells us we must repent and change our behavior. In our day to day reality what does that mean and what does that look like? Briefly defined, repentance is turning away from sin and self- obsession and looking to God for forgiveness and salvation.

Acts 11:18 “18 When they heard these things, they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

The Old Testament describes repentance as turning away from sinful behavior. Yet the turning away is accomplished through Christ and not ourselves. That’s one of the reasons a real, daily, active relationship with Christ is essential. We can’t function in The Body of Christ if we spend most of our time on earth as a Christian living in sin. That makes us dysfunctional in the world.

Sin already makes us dysfunctional, but as Christians if we continue in our sin and our besetting sins, we come up against God’s discipline instead of his grace and mercy. God works in us through The Person of the Holy Spirit that brings about an inward acknowledgment of guilt which then causes us to move away from our depravity toward his perfect and holy character.

Acts 5:31 “31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

You and I should as part of our daily spiritual life with Christ be reflective. Consider then if you are repenting. Once you recognize your sin or sins are you changing your behavior? Do you need help from a Christian or a counselor or whatever to change your behavior?

Yet we can’t do it on our own, repentance works in us by the hearing of the Word of God, God’s law Rom. 3:10-12 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

“Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.” Charles Spurgeon

Here is a list of some of the things we should do but we fail miserably at:

· Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Not 95%, but 100%. (Matthew 22:37)

· Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Be as eager for things to go well for him as you are for things to go well for you. (Matthew 22:39)

· Do all things without grumbling. No grumbling — inside or outside. (Philippians 2:14)

· Cast all your anxieties on him — so you are not being weighed down by them anymore. (1 Peter 5:7)

· Only say things that give grace to others — especially those closest to you. (Ephesians 4:29)

· Redeem the time. Don’t fritter away the minutes or dawdle. (Ephesians 5:16)

We all have come to the point where we feel broken, and angry at our sin. We need to kill our sin, become a sin-hater. (“Put to death what is earthly in you,” Colossians 3:5; “Put to death the deeds of the body,” Romans 8:13.) I want to live.

Part of our daily relationship with Christ includes claiming the promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Start there, and God’s peace will be with you.

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