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Dec 8 – Repent!

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

Matthew 3:1–12

In today’s reading, John the Baptist is calling us to prepare for Christ’s arrival.  The word for “prepare” in the Greek refers to an ancient custom of preparing the way for a king’s arrival.  Everything had to be perfect along the king’s path; there couldn’t be debris along the road and there couldn’t be potholes.  In other words, the path had to be smooth and free of stumbling blocks. 

 John the Baptist uses that same word to tell us to prepare for the coming of Christ.  His challenge to us is more about a spiritual preparation; making sure there are no stumbling blocks in our lives that would hinder the full acceptance of Jesus.

In order to clear out the stumbling blocks in our lives, 2 things are required:  confession and repentance.  It’s funny how we use those 2 words interchangeably when they each have distinct meanings.  

Let’s start with confession. Confession is admitting that you’ve done something wrong.  Unfortunately, many of our personal prayers of confession go something like this:  “Lord, forgive me if there is any sin in my life.”  C’mon – you can do better than that!  You haven’t actually admitted to anything there.  We need to be very specific in our confession.  I know what you’re thinking:  God already knows what I’ve done wrong.  That is very true, but God wants to know that you know what you’ve done wrong, so be specific in your confessions.

Having confessed your sins does not mean that repentance has taken place.  Confession is admitting your sins and repentance is being sorry enough to stop doing it!  

Repentance literally means to turn back or to change, so when you truly repent you don’t make the same dumb mistake over and over.  

Granted, it doesn’t mean we won’t make other dumb mistakes, but it does mean we will actually turn from our sins!

Take some time today to sit before the Lord in a time of sincere confession and repentance.

Lord, reveal to me the things you want me to change.  Grant me courage and strength to make the changes.  Amen.

Pastor Tina Hosler

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