“…I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds …” Acts 26:20b
Did you know that the word repentance, as used in the Bible, actually means to “turn your guts (or insides) around”? Repentance doesn’t just mean saying “sorry” or even feeling sorry. It means going forward in a different direction — doing an about face. Many times, maybe most of the time, we really don’t want to do this. Sometimes we think we can’t do this, because the sin is so deeply ingrained. Saying sorry often means we’re sorry we got caught. We’re sorry our bad behavior was noticed. We want to look good instead of being good.
In the verse, the apostle Paul is explaining to King Agrippa exactly why the Jews want him to be prosecuted and put to death. He had the audacity to demand that they change their ways! He expected them to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and it made them furious!
True repentance is a willingness to turn away from our sin (whatever that happens to be) and start walking in a different direction, walking towards God’s way instead of our way. It’s difficult, and sometimes we’ll stumble or even fall. When that happens we need to get up, get going, and stay focused on the goal.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Are you willing to turn around?