Some of my conversations with God have a long history. “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand,” has taken a while to digest. At first, I took this simply to mean repent from sin. Yet this passage doesn’t even make sin an issue. It makes the availability of the Kingdom of God an issue.
Later I realized that this “repent” idea included all the good stuff I learned to do, whether skills, behavior, knowledge, kindness, or whatever that produced good. I needed to “repent” and change my thinking about the reason for doing the good. Usually, my reason had a basis in my own self-centeredness, like receiving an accolade, or being noticed, or seeing others valued me or needed me.
I needed to repent of the underlying motivation to anything I did, good or bad, and I needed to shift the center of my reasoning from my desires to God’s. God needed to become the center of my thinking, emoting, behaving, not me and that meant an inside-out renovation or transformation of my heart.
Mind you, this conversation had many twists and turns (emotionally and otherwise), yet God, in His love, kept prodding and inviting me forward. I needed to “repent” in a way that reevaluated all of my heart, interior, emotion, affections, thinking, or soulish processes so that I could be fully surrendered to God, His leadership and desires. I needed to shift my automatic responses from a self-centered basis to a God-centered one.
I can’t do that. God can. My conversations with God took a turn to more of an interpersonal, intimate, and interactive conversation. I started revealing to Him what I noticed on my inside, how difficult change appeared to me, and asking Him to do what He does best — transform me and bring wholeness and health.
God really responds to conversations of surrender. He has done things I would not have imagined could be done. My interior life carries less anxiety and more peace. Patience has increased. Anger on the road has decreased. My ability to be present to others without distraction has improved. Gratitude and joy have increased.
Repentance or aligning to the Kingdom’s availability and God’s presence transforms my automatic behavior into attitudes and actions that better reflect His character and love. Journeying with God near makes that possible. I love it! Inside and out.