Repent is a church word that is often thrown around a lot that I think has received a faulty image. We associate it with confession and immediately begin to resist because of the feelings of guilt and shame that arise when thinking about admitting wrong doing. Let’s face it. No one enjoys exposing their failings and short comings. But repentance is different because it has less to do with what we did and more about what we are going to do.
My friend Rusty recently defined a repentant heart as a heart that is willing to change. This might be the best definition I’ve heard on repentance. It’s so simple yet very powerful. Am I willing to change? I think that’s a much harder question to answer than it first appears. Initially, it sounds like a brilliant idea. “Of course I’m ready to change!” But once I stop and really count the cost of change, I’m not as apt to sign-up.
One of the beautiful treasures I have found in my relationship with Jesus is that He doesn’t require me to change myself, just that I be willing to change however He leads. He wants to do the heavy lifting. The most daunting aspects of changing are taken off my shoulders. Jesus gives me the strength, the perseverance, the patience, and the drive to change. I realize this topic will cause some to roll their eyes and write me off as one of those Christians that uses Jesus as a crutch. But it’s true. I admit it. I use Jesus as a crutch because I realize how much I jack things up on my own. It’s something you can’t fully grasp until you experience it firsthand. It’s kind of like the thrill of white water rafting. I can tell you all about it, but you just won’t appreciate it until you climb into the raft yourself.
To repent is to simply be willing to change. It’s not an easy journey. There will be setbacks. But the end result is worth the struggle. Just as a clam produces pearls under tremendous stress, so can we be produced into beautiful things.