Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
In Matthew 4:17 we are told that after His temptation in the wilderness and the arrest of John the Baptist Jesus began His preaching ministry with the call for repentance. "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Interestingly enough, the word the Lord uses here in Greek, the language of the New Testament, demands that the action of repentance be continual. When we come to Christ we enter into life-long repentance. Of course, this means a permanent change of thinking. But in our daily lives it also means we must continue to turn our hearts away from sins that inevitably creep in. Let me suggest three necessary aspects of continuing repentance.
1. A Sensitive Heart
How do you respond when someone accuses you of wrong? Do you put all your energy into defending yourself? Do you automatically attack? Or do you pray? You can ask God, "Father, is this an opportunity to repent?" Since our ultimate accuser is Satan, you may well discover that the accusation is not completely true. But even in this situation you may have an opportunity to bring your heart and your thinking more in line with your Heavenly Father's. If your heart is sensitive, what the enemy intends for evil will only make you more Christlike.
2. A Thoughtful Heart
The freedom to examine your heart comes to from saturating your mind in the truth of the gospel. Have you memorized verses that give you God's assurance? Do you think daily about their wonderful truth? You don't have to defend yourself. Jesus is actively defending you before the throne of God. (1 John 2:1) You are not condemned. (Romans 8:1) God sees you washed in His blood. (Revelation 1:5) There are hundreds more!
3. A Comforted Heart.
To react in repentance rather than defensiveness you need to be immersed in the love of God that His Spirit desires to lavish upon you. Do you regularly Give thanks for the love of Christ? Do you tremble in wonder at God's amazing grace? Only in such assurance will you be free to continually examine your heart and allow God's Spirit to bring it nearer to His own.