Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Monday, September 9, 2013

On the Topic of Repentance

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other. -- Isaiah 45:22

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21

Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. -- Acts 14:15

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. -- Colossians 3:2

For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God … -- 1 Thessalonians 1:9

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

I was looking through R.A. Torrey’s New Topical Reference and ran across the entry for “Repentance – What it is”, which lists in reference the passages above.  We know that metanoia means to change one’s mind.  We just need to think about what that means in our own lives. 

The world has a story, and it is blasting on all channels, all day, every day.  The details and approaches vary, but there is agreement that success in this world is what matters – even if success is defined as having the most fun or taking the most dope.  The world will tell us that we are failures and that we are missing out if we don’t adhere to its standards – which tend to shift around somewhat. 

My purpose and life in Christ are eternal.  I suppose God could have created a class of beings whose suffering and agony brought Him satisfaction.  Instead He created us in whom He delights and whose existence He longs to fill with delight.  All that I need to do to experience that is turn from being fleshly minded to being spiritually minded.  As Torrey’s references demonstrate, that is more prosaic and pragmatic than we might sometimes think. 

Repentance changes how we perceive the call of the world.  It transforms our understanding of what we read, watch, and listen to.  We hear the Lord’s voice and glimpse His presence in art and literature where before we saw only something clever or pleasing to us in some way.  But I must be getting old.  There is just less and less about the answers, the information, the entertainment, and the technology people tout that appeal to me.  I find I am happier away from it, relaxing in the Lord’s presence and allowing myself to be recreated in conformity to Christ. 

Repentance means that we give up chasing shadows and being captivated by the hollow and empty merely because it has a pleasing exterior.  We seek truth and beauty in the true and the living God.


John Lien said...

But I must be getting old. There is just less and less about the answers, the information, the entertainment, and the technology people tout that appeal to me.

Yup, I hope it isn't just age but possibly a bit of wisdom creeping in. But then again, the "been there, done that" world-weariness that comes with age may be a blessing which causes one to aim higher.

Don Johnson said...

Amen to all that. It's getting harder and harder to find humility and wisdom in the plugged-in world. Some of the people I admire most are completely off the grid. We need them and there's little or no way for anyone to know who they are anymore.

Not that this is a surprise. It's not like it wasn't prophesied a couple thousand years ago.

mushroom said...

John, yes, it's wisdom on your part, not so sure about me.

As far as remaining plugged in goes, I am because I'm still working. If I were fully retired, as I might be in a few more years, I don't know.

I like the symbolism of your new avatar. Very cool.