Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
I remember when this passage came to life for me. I typed it up and printed it so I could pin it to my ceiling. Every morning I would look up and see the words. I’ve since committed it to memory, and I am constantly reminded to apply it to my life. I often pray a simple prayer “Lord, change the way I think.” He has been faithful to make those changes, as I much as I submit to Him. I often times get frustrated because I still think certain way, and I wonder will I ever change. It is then that Jesus subtly reminds me of how much of my mind He has changed. I used to hate people for various reasons and now I don’t let my anger or frustration lead to hate. Instead asking how can extend love, how can I allow Holy Spirit to work through me? Unbeknownst to me the Father has been teaching me how to repent. A skill I misunderstood and many others may as well. A prayer I only began a short while ago is “Lord, help me repent.” The trouble was I would pray that after I would sin. To which the Lord would say “Okay I’ll help you.” then He would just let me go on my way. I never understood His silence after that until now. Repenting is not a post sin act, but a sin preventing act. It is stopping in your temptation and reconciling your thoughts. If I go down the path of sin I am denying my identity, but if I go down the path of life I am accepting my identity. Repentance is the self reminding of how you think as a child of God. For if I am a child of God I behave as such, therefore if I behave like the world I am identifying with the world. Repentance is proactive, it tears down lies and builds up truth in you mind.
When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are decedents of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgement is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:7-9
It is not enough to simple say I’m a child of God and not change your behavior. To blatantly continue in sin and proclaim I'm a christian is hypocritical. This is not about your security as a child, your inheritance has been set aside beyond the reach of decay. This is about your authority as a child. A repentant heart has power over sin. It's not simply not thinking about sin, but replacing those thoughts with truth. I am a child of God, therefore sinful behavior is unbecoming of me. And as a child of God I respond to the urge to sin by turning from it. The lie may be someone is purposely is against you. The temptation is to hate the person. The truth is that person’s behavior towards you has a myriad of reasons and they deserve your understanding. The response is to love the person without conditions. Repentance is choosing to see through the lens of truth. Viewing both yourself and others in that light. Seeing where you need to change and where others need your understanding. Jesus didn’t die on the cross just for my past sin, but also that which I have not committed. Thus a repentant heart does not simply look at its past and say “That’s bad I shouldn’t have done that.”, but looks into the future to choose which person to be. The child of God or the child of the world. Which will you choose?