Changing our Behavior
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary defines repentance as “literally a change of mind, not about individual plans, intentions, or beliefs, but rather a change in one’s attitude about God.” The keyword in this definition is attitude. Our attitude towards different things is typically the result of past experiences and has a significant impact on our behavior. Attitude and behavior go hand in hand, but the main difference between the two is attitude is reflected by thoughts and behavior is reflected by actions.
The 15th chapter of Luke tells the parable of the prodigal son. In this story, we see a son who asks his father for his inheritance. His father gives the son what he wants, and the son moves off and absolutely wastes everything that was given to him. The son ends up in a position where he would have been happy just to have eaten what the pigs were eating. He realizes what he has done with his life and goes back to his home hoping that his father will take him back as a servant. In the end, the father gladly receives his son back into the family and celebrates his return.
This parable exemplifies how God’s love for us is so strong for us that whenever we do turn away from Him, He will always welcome us home into His open arms. The son in this parable is a representation of us, Christian believers. When the son got what he wanted from his father, he went and lived as recklessly as he wanted to live. Too many times, Christians will pray to the Father and take what they can get from Him just to go off and live life the way they want to. This isn’t true repentance.
Repentance is realizing that you have nothing without God, and you can’t do this life without Him. Everyone slips up. Everyone falls. Everyone sins. These kinds of things happen because we are not perfect people. However, repentance is a behavioral change.
Once true repentance takes place, you don’t want to do the things that you used to. Much like the son in this parable, we must get to a place where we no longer want to do the things we used to do and live the life we were living without our Father. True repentance is asking our Father to take us back even if it’s only as a servant.
And in our humbleness and surrender, God our Father will take us back as a son or daughter every time.Jonah Miller