Unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Lk 13:3,5)
I love bringing people encouragement, inspiring them with visions of the glory of God, sharing Scriptures about the infinite love of God for His children, or gazing in amazement at the infinity of space and distant galaxies, the work of our Father’s hand. I love sharing simple thoughts about hope, or the return of Spring as evidence of His faithfulness.
But it would be a poor pastor who never challenged his people. When we look at the teaching of Jesus we see that He never stopped short of bringing warnings when necessary; He never shied away from speaking the truth, even when it was hard for people to hear. So when someone told him about the death of some Jewish people killed by Pilate, Jesus took the opportunity to respond ‘don’t think you’re better than them. If you don’t repent, you too will perish’.
We know, of course, that our relationship with God depends solely on faith, not on what we do or don’t do. Yet Jesus calls us to be disciples, or followers, not just those who say Yes at a crucial point in their lives and then keep on going just as before. ‘Unless you repent’ = you need to change your ways. Not just once, but continually. There is a powerful message behind the well-known words Jesus taught His disciples: ‘forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’. It means Repent. Change your ways. Live differently. Stop deliberately sinning. Allow God to transform your life, bit by bit. Repenting is something I have to do not just once, but every day. That’s not easy. But I need to keep changing and make repentance a lifestyle.
Holy Spirit, please fill me again. Please give me grace today to see where I need to change, and the determination to repent – again.