Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV) — “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
During this season of Lent there have been three constants in my mind: Christian conduct, standards and spiritual principles. I like what some of the Bible commentaries point out. In our opening Scripture passage, the Apostle Paul doesn’t say what we should or shouldn’t do. He simply says, “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him.”
Undoubtably, some people function better with a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” like the 10 Commandments.
Matthew 22:37-40: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself: all the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”
So for me this freedom has taken out the drudgery of “I gave it up” that is often associated with repentance. For me, repentance took on a whole new meaning when my perspective was changed. Allow me to share a couple of illustrations to show my meaning:
First Illustration: K. B. was a laborer on the Alaska pipeline back in the mid-1970’s. He worked up in the icy cold for a year and came back home and decided to visit a church. The first Sunday he walked through the doors and sat in the back. He had a beard, looked like a Kodiak brown bear, perhaps like a man who would never become a Christian.
That morning the Gospel was preached, and an invitation was given. The instant the music started, K. B. came down the aisle. Tears ROLLED down as he gave his life to Jesus.
The next Sunday he came back to Sunday services and was dressed in a suit, tie and no beard! When asked what caused him to shave and dress up, he said: “Jesus changed me on the inside and I want people to know it so … I changed the outside.”
The Second Illustration is from a preacher known as D. L. Moody. He said this: “Man is born with his back toward God. When he truly repents, he turns right around and faces toward God. Repentance is a change of mind.”
For me, the clearest way I explain repentance is: “If you’re going the wrong way … turn around. God allows U-turns!”
God didn’t change my shirt; He changed my heart. I changed the way I dressed, to show the difference in my words and deeds.
Remember, the definition of remorse is a deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed. Remorse without Repentance is just a bad feeling. Repentance brings Joy!