Tag Archives: Repentance

‘Turning from’ Lies; ‘Turning toward’ Truth

     The first two full weeks of this new year I had the joy and privilege of delivering devotionals to our church’s moms’ groups. One of the leader moms introduced me the first week with some very complimentary remarks, which I realized caused me to feel uneasy.

     During the next few days I ruminated on what she said, and my mind was bombarded with feelings of inadequacies.

     I’m not unfamiliar with this type of mental wrangling. Honestly, I’ve struggled most of my lifetime feeling woefully inadequate.

     If you’re nodding in agreement right now, I wouldn’t be surprised. I believe we have an enemy of our souls whose primary strategy is to spew lies that keep us in a state of feeling perpetually unworthy and insufficient.

     You’re not enough! You’ll never be enough! That’s what the enemy of our souls would like us to believe.

     As I wrestled with this recent bout of feeling inadequate, I believe the Lord spoke some significant truths to my spirit.

     First, yes, I am a very flawed woman.

     Secondly, God’s grace is greater than my flaws.

     The final revelation relates to the matter of repentance we’ve been discussing in the past few blog posts.

     In my sincere desire to become a woman of authentic faith, I have remained a learner, pursued truth and been willing to allow the Holy Spirit to search my inmost being. When I’m convinced the Spirit has shown me a thought or behavior that doesn’t represent the heart of God, I have attempted to ‘turn from’ those attitudes or beliefs and have ‘turned toward’ others.

     The process of ongoing repentance can be a lot of work since the roots of many thoughts, beliefs and behaviors run deeply. But for me, that process also turns my journey of faith away from mere dogma and doctrine toward an adventure of delightful discovery.

     I’m convinced the adventure will continue until I take my last earthly breath. I suspect it will persist throughout eternity, although I admit, that’s a concept difficult to wrap one’s brain around.

     Please join me next time as I unwrap a couple real life repentance examples.

     In the meantime, I hope you’ll be willing to wrestle with any feelings of inadequacy and that you’ll invite God’s Spirit to reveal truth to the deepest part of your soul.

     I’m praying for you!

Sue Reeve

A – B – C’s of Repentance…

     In my last post (January 24th), Repentance – Change by Turning, I discussed my Spiritual Director’s simple, but profound, explanation of repentance. She described repentance, for the Christ follower, as a series of small changes in which we ‘turn from…’ in order to ‘turn toward….’

     I also told you I know my soul has changed in significant ways during the past five decades. I realize some changes occurred naturally because of the perspective age and maturity brings, but many of my soul’s changes are the result of repentance.

     Today, I’d like to give you personal insights related to my experience with repentance, beginning with what I call Sue’s A-B-C’s of Repentance:

                                             Awareness

                                             Buy-in

                                             Commitment to Change

     Years ago, I was introduced to a concept that helped me understand how people change. In the Proshaska and Di Clemente Process of Change Model[1], the first stage of change is ‘pre-contemplative.’ In other words, I cannot change something of which I’m unaware. Awareness is essential if I’m to work on

     changing an unbeneficial behavior,

          ‘turning away from’ thinking that isn’t God honoring, or

               altering an attitude or activity that isn’t Christlike.

     Next, is Buy-In. Although I’m not particularly rebellious, I don’t respond well to authoritarianism and don’t learn well when told what I “must” do or “should” believe. Especially in matters of the soul, I think deeply about ideas and concepts presented. I learn best and become ‘willing to be willing’ through a process of discovery—or Buy-in.

     Finally, when I feel a certain spiritual teaching or practice does not violate what I believe are Christian bottom-lines[2], and when a teaching or practice resonates in my spirit, then I’m ready to Commit to Change.

     Since I believe this is such an important concept, I will continue the discussion in my next blogs and will give you examples of areas of personal repentance. If what I’ve written in the last two posts resonates with you, I think you’ll benefit from some real-life experiences.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, my prayer is that you will consider an area in your own life where God may be inviting you to ‘turn from…’ in order to ‘turn toward’ divine faith, hope and love.

Sue Reeve

 

  1. http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.
  2. “Christian bottom-lines” for me can be found in Christian creeds such as Apostles Creed https://www.ccel.org/creeds/apostles.creed; or Nicene Creed https://www.ccel.org/creeds/nicene.creed.

Repentance – Change by Turning…

     A recent news report highlighted a political candidate whose views have changed radically over the years. There was much commentary about the candidate’s motivation. Were the changes sincere or simply politically expedient?

     I have no insight into the heart of this individual and spent neither time nor energy speculating on the politician’s motivation.

     As I listened, though, I began considering the whole matter of personal change and ways in which my thinking, views and behaviors have changed over the course of the last five decades.

     I’m a very different person in 2019 than I was in 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 or 2009.

     In the past five decades, my soul has changed in significant ways.

     Some changes occurred naturally because of the perspective age and maturity brings. Many of my soul’s changes, however, are the result of repentance.

     In the New Testament, the word repentance is derived from a Greek word, metanoia, defined as the state of changing any or all of the elements composing one’s life: attitude, thoughts and behaviors…[1]

     My Spiritual Director described repentance as a series of small changes in which we ‘turn from…’ in order to ‘turn toward….’

     Metanoia is a process. As one who follows Christ, I’ve found the process of metanoia involves:

  • turning away from even one small attitude, thought or behavior I believe does not honor God, and then,
  • turning toward a different attitude, thought or behavior that does honor God.

     The outcome of this series of changes causes my character to be conformed more and more into that of Jesus.

     Because Jesus is perfect and because I will always be a work in progress, my journey of metanoia will result in a lifelong adventure of transformation.

     In my next post, I’ll offer some steps I’ve found helpful in the process of soul change.

     Until then,

Blessings as you consider your journey of repentance…

Sue Reeve

Sue Reeve

  1. Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Second Edition