My wife and I were talking the other night about repentance and what it really means to repent. I understand this concept very well in my own heart. As the saying goes, "He who is forgiven much, loves much." But I often struggle to articulate the degree and severity that Jesus meant when He said, "Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is near!" The Holy Spirit gave me a parable of sorts that night that says it more clearly than I have ever heard:
Let's say that I was able to
definitively prove to you that the drinking of milk other than human was
the direct cause of cancer as much as blood is the vehicle for
transferring AIDS. Would you continue to drink milk? At all? Would you
say, "I love milk, but I know it's bad for me, so I will start weening
myself off slowly. This month I will drink only 10 glasses. Next month I
will drink 9. And so on." This person would either have to be insane or
they didn't actually believe the truth in the beginning. But it is
true! So what would be the proper response? Stop drinking milk! Now!
Then, I would start finding out what was made with dairy. Anything that
had any dairy in it would be cut out of my diet.
is the difference between a Paul-like conversion and the majority of
'Christians' I meet today. Many treat sin and purity flippantly. They
assume that their life operates on their own time-table. They use grace
as a scapegoat for sin.
"Sure you want to do good
things and stay away from the bad. But we are all forgiven in the end
anyway. Don't be so uptight about it. Enjoy your life and trust in
These thoughts pass through a lot more heads
than speak it. But there is an increasing number who are starting to
speak it as well. Repentance means going out on the battlefield and
defeating the enemy head on at the outset. And once the battlefield has
been won you go throughout the towns and countryside routing out the
enemy, leaving none alive. This is what repentance and the Christian
walk should look like. Yes, you will be under constant attack from the
flesh until the day you die. But you should be defeating the massive
frontal enemy at the outset.
If a drug addict was
trying to get clean the first step would be... stop taking drugs! Then
he would begin routing out the causes of his drug addiction. The
dealers, the co-dependents, the enablers. Then he would dig deeper and
rout out the emotional causes of his drug addiction: depression, hurt,
bitterness, regret, selfishness. In this way he would win the lifelong
battle, but it begins by not taking the drugs! He can't say, "This month
I will only take two hits of crack a day. And next month only one hit a day."
That would be ridiculous! Everyone knows that wouldn't work and no one
would believe he was serious about getting clean.
all face the same battle and demon in varying ways. Stop sinning! Then
find and cut out the things that make your sin possible. Then find out
why you are committing the sin in the first place. This is the process
of sanctification. This is holiness. Remember Jesus' words,
your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It
is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body
to be thrown into hell."