What a Way to Start the New Year!

REPENT! REPENTANCE!!

Don’t know why it is, but for most people those words have a negative connotation! That’s tragic, because the core meaning of the words is not negative at all … in fact, at the beginning of this new year, it is positive! In fact, the words “resolution” or “new beginning” would be terms that are close cousins.

In my Bible reading today (Matthew 3:1-12) John the Baptist’s message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Now “the kingdom of heaven” is certainly not a bad thing! In fact it is the sphere of God’s reign over those who belong to Him… it is characterized by righteousness, peace, as well as God’s exhibited power, blessing, and wholeness. Where the Living God reigns things are good and right – not marred by evil and sin! To live and thrive in that domain, however, things just have to change!

That’s why John’s challenge was… “REPENT”! … PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE LORD!”

One commentator (the NIV Study Bible) put it this way in the notes for Matthew 3.2… “Repentance is not merely a change of mind, but a radical change in one’s life as a whole that especially involves forsaking sin and turning or returning to God.” Now that’s not negative – that’s not a “downer” – that’s really positive!! It prepares a person for living in the sphere where God reigns, leads, and blesses!

Just take it from me… I want to live in that sphere – that domain!! With God’s help, I’m going to seek to allow the Holy Spirit to identify anything in my life that hinders me from enjoying the benefits of that sphere of power and blessing this year and CHANGE!! In other words… I’m going to REPENT! I believe It’ll be good!!

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