Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. -Acts 3:19, NKJV
When we hear the word repent, many think about feeling sorry about something we did or said. Not just sorry, but really sorry. Biblical repentance is not about feeling sorry. It's not about hating our imperfections or condemning ourselves.
Biblical repentance is about turning in a different direction. When it comes to God, it's about considering the direction your life is headed in and deciding to turn in the opposite direction- towards Him. Jesus preached repentance.
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” -Matthew 4:17, NLT
Repentance allows God to pierce your heart and reveal how much you need Your Heavenly Father. He loves us all and desires for everyone to turn toward Him. When we turn away from God, we are rejecting Him and His ways. He wants us to pause and listen to that small still voice deep within that knows we need Him.
Return to the Lord your God, for He is full of loving-kindness and loving-pity. He is slow to anger, full of love, and ready to keep His punishment from you. -Joel 2:13, NLV
Repentance is not just for unbelievers. As believers, we must also keep a heart of repentance to make sure we are making decisions that bring us toward God and not away from Him. Spiritual warfare is so prevalent in the earthy realm that it's easy to drift away from God. It can be so subtle that before we know it, we are thinking, speaking, and acting in ways contrary to the Word of God.
When people ask what they have to repent about, you can explain that repentance is about considering your lifestyle and assessing if it is pleasing to God, and if it isn't, taking the necessary steps to change the way you approach life. This starts by acknowledging to God that you need to change to please Him and accepting the invitation He has extended through Jesus to be in a loving relationship with Him.
Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting. -James 4:8, TPT
Sin is when we do and say things contrary to His Way. The things we do and say that are not pleasing to God is sin. Our fallen nature desires things that are contrary to the ways of God, and it is beyond our human willpower to change on our own. Repentance is letting God know that we cannot live a life pleasing to Him without His help and making room for Him to come into our lives and transform us to be more like Him.
God is not only mighty, but He is kind. He is waiting for us to invite Him into our lives before He comes in. Once we invite Him in, He can transform us to think, act, and speak like Him.
For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and He will not turn away His face from you if you return to Him. - 2 Chronicles 30:9b, AMPC