"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Let's discuss repentance a little further. Because we lack understanding, we usually don't place repentance and overcoming in the same category. We look at repentance with the same attitude as we look at a trip to the dentist. Repentance is our doorway to freedom. It supplies the change of direction that relieves us from bondage to the world.
Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3, speak of overcoming. That is what repentance is all about. It takes a lot of effort and energy to overcome the pull of the past. Old habits exert a powerful force. A weak resolve on our part is easily uprooted by our emotions, our moods, and our circumstances.
How do we break the pull of the past and become overcomers? First, we count the cost. We shouldn't make a public statement about changing our lives until we prostrate ourselves before Jesus and release our old habits to His jurisdiction. Unless Jesus is involved in our repentance, it is superficial and we end up with flesh fighting flesh. He alone has sufficient thrust to overcome the restraining forces. "I have overcome the world," said Jesus. He alone overcomes the world in us.
When we decide to repent about a certain characteristic of our personality and we submit that behavior to the spiritual influence of our Lord, we usually experience withdrawal pains.
We still do what comes naturally, responding to habitual cravings and routines. We continue to perform as we feel others expect us to perform. We give in to vanity and pride, and deceive ourselves as we fight to maintain our false front. This gives us glory, but it gets in the way of God's will. It also stops our spiritual progress.
A commitment to repent is a promise to God. Because of this, our decision must be definite. If we don't fulfill our promise, our self-esteem plummets because we feel we have failed God. We may even begin to behave according to our impression of ourselves as failures.
On the other hand, when our commitment is sincere and our decision definite, an enormous spiritual power comes forth to strengthen us. As we exercise our new-found discipline, our ability to perform better in other areas of our lives improves accordingly. We are interrelated. As we act positively in one facet of our program there is reciprocal reaction in other facets.
That is why repentance is so important. When we clean up one area of our lives, it becomes easier to clean up another area. We begin to see Jesus in action. This generates a desire to see more. Eventually, as we become aware of areas that need repentance, we run to place them on the altar because we like the taste of freedom that true repentance brings.
We need to change our attitude toward repentance and look for areas to appropriate it. Repentance is primary to an overcomer. It is a prerequisite to the production of pure fruit (Matthew 3:8).
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: To what degree is Jesus involved in my commitment to repent?