The Bible says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). John the Baptist says this as he’s preparing the way for Jesus and His message. Does Jesus really insist on change in our lives? If I continue making the same mistakes over and over again should I expect different results? Some say Jesus is a teacher of love, grace, and mercy, and I say, “AMEN”! But Jesus also said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). So which message is right and true? How can we reconcile these two ideas?
Sometimes I have to make a U-turn. Why would I do that? I made a driving mistake. Maybe I missed an important turn or I’m heading down a dead end street. If I’m teaching young people to drive I would tell them how to make that U-turn, not because I’m overbearing and controlling but because I want them to be safe. If these were my own children I would tell them because I love them. What motivates God to command a spiritual U-turn? That’s what repenting is: a 180-degree turn from sin back toward our amazing God. Jesus commands us to repent because He loves us, because He knows there is danger down the road we’re traveling. U-turns might seem embarrassing to us, but isn’t it more embarrassing to hit that dead end?
God’s love, grace, and mercy are exactly what motivate me to turn to Him. What about you? How about making that change more permanent? Let’s allow God to transform us, to renew our minds, and maybe even take the steering wheel for the rest of the trip (Romans 12:1-2). Wouldn’t that be the wise choice?