We are invited to leave our old ways of thinking and living, selfish ambitions, preconceived ideas, religious systems, agendas, biases, and sometimes even the ways of our family of origin to learn that we’re created anew and adopted into the family of God. This is profound in every way and requires our entire self, not just our big toe.
Sometimes we wonder why transformation isn’t taking place in our lives. Maybe it’s because we’re not following Jesus at all. Maybe we’re following our own way with a little bit of Jesus mixed in. Maybe we’ve begun to fake it. After Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness, he began to preach: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt. 4:17). The Passion Translation says, “Keep turning away from your sins and come back to God, for heaven’s kingdom realm is now accessible.” To repent means to be sorry and change your ways. It’s frustrating when my kids (or someone else) say they are sorry but keep doing the same thing. I frustrate myself when I do that! Are we living like this with God, desiring all the benefits of relationship with Him without action on our end?
Throughout Jesus’s three years of ministry on earth, He went everywhere telling people to repent (be sorry) and change their ways because the kingdom of heaven had come near! When we encounter His love and nature, we can’t help but turn from self and look to Him for a new way to live.