Repentance.

“So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart and a conscious decision to turn away from sin];

Matthew 3:8 AMP

Have you ever had something so heavy on your heart that you couldn’t shake? So repetitive? Something that gave you a tug and aggravated your spirit?

Well, for me, this has been happening for the past week and a half. Before God called me to fast, there was one word that continued to invade my thoughts. Not hurried, rushed, but quietly repeated in the background of my conscious,

“repent“.

So my first thought was, “okay Lord, what did I do now? Let me know what to repent for so I can turn quickly.” (Acts 3:19) But still, the word continued to echo. Hour after hour, sometimes minute by minute. I wrestled with this because it came down to me feeling like, “Maybe I don’t fully understand true repentance.” However, God is a teacher and He shows us things when we ask.

This brings me to Matthew 3:8. I’m old school, so KJV reads:

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

or the one I quote more often in NIV:

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

With repentance, which defined in the Amplified Bible, is “demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart and a conscious decision to turn away from sin“, we are producing or making something new within ourselves. And really it’s not we/us, it’s God.

You have to ask yourself, “After asking for forgiveness from God, am I really becoming new or staying the same way?”

Which brings me to my next point:

What are you producing with your repentance?

Matthew 12:33 AMP says this:

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is recognized and judged by its fruit.”

Scripture speaks for itself for sure, but it highlights and important quality of people. If you are good, you’ll produce good; if you’re bad, you produce bad. We all can identify the quality of fruit from a grocery store, so shouldn’t we expect people to differentiate us too. Don’t you think God will definitely know the difference?

I think about Jesus cursing the barren fig tree for not producing any figs and how so easily that can also be us. God doesn’t want us to be cut off, tossed aside in the fire, or experience any of the wrath that comes from unbelief. Don’t believe me? Read Lamentations 3:22-33. However, God expects us to turn, better yet, CHANGE for Him and by Him for good reason.

There is nothing this world can offer us, yet God can give us everything. Man’s knowledge is limited, but God’s is limitless. Man’s love is conditional, but God’s love is unconditional.

I don’t type these words as fire and brimstone to you. I type them because I am living a life that I never thought could happen, because of repentance. Because of the change of heart God gave me.

Listen, James 4:8 NIV reads:

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

My first thought when I read this (and probably yours too) is “ouch!” or “That’s harsh!”, but let me make this plain for you.

When we are not part of God, we are enemies of God. Just like your friends would do in school, everybody outside your friend group is your frenemy. But with God, the difference is that He allows you to choose whether or not you come to Him. It’s not forced, but an open invitation. Likewise, just as you were loyal to your friends back in those days, God expects loyalty from you. Double-minded people like to straddle the fence, and that’s not possible. You’re all in or all out! Simple.

So I pose this to you, yes, you who is reading:

Repent. Ask God to come into your life. To accept Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to save us by dying on the cross, resurrecting, ascending to heaven and left us with Holy Spirit. Then, ask for a changed heart and the will to walk in that direction.

Then, give it a week. Watch how life changes.

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