**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 4:17
Would you say that this passage is a very short summary of the entire ministry of Jesus? I think maybe you could call it the "tagline". The defining statement of what all of His work would be about; getting his listeners to understand that they needed repentance to get ready for the kingdom.
If this is true, why is it that we spend so little time ever really talking about repentance in the Christian world? We do understand that there is a need to repent of our sins and turn to God...right?
Unfortunately I don't think this is the case...we don't talk about repentance at all. We all like to call ourselves sinners in the general term of the word. Like...
"Yep, I'm a sinner. Everyone is a sinner"
..and then we might throw in a couple of misquoted verses to back that up, like...
"we're all born into sin" or "I do the thing I don't want to do".
But what about really understanding personal tangible sin that is in our life....
- Stealing from the office
- Hurting a friend
- Drinking or overeating
...and repenting of each one specifically; knowing that it is more than just a state of "being".
Each sin has an effect. It damages those touched by it. It damages our relationship with loved ones. It damages our relationship with God. They each should be dealt with on a direct personal level. If any one of them has caused damage to a specific person there should be forgiveness requested along with restitution. You should repent of them to God and repair the damage done to your relationship with Him.
These are all basics, yet we don't talk about repentance anymore. We say a simple sinners prayer and then consider the matter closed....and maybe that is a good starting point... but we must continue to do the good work of repentance. We cannot fully realize the forgiving power of God unless we get down to the nitty gritty with Him and bare our souls and let Him cleanse us. Be willing to go on your knees. Be willing to see the sinfulness, the destructiveness, of sin...and learn to hate it like God does. Turn from it....and when you make a mistake...know that God is there to help you work through it and to forgive you; always.
Thank you for being willing to work with us. For being willing to teach us and for helping us to see our sinfulness. Please Lord, show me the sins in my life that are hurting others, especially those that I may not feel are hurting others. Help me to understand and then help me to change. Give me a forgiving spirit and also a spirit willing and ready to ask for forgiveness. Change my heart Lord and help me to abhor sin...help me to turn from it before I step in it.
Lord, please be with all of the prayer requests on my list. I lift them all up to you and ask that you guide in each situation so that they will see your hand.
Thank you for the answered prayers in my life. Thank you for all that you supply and help me to use everything you have given me to your glory.
Be with my family today Lord...keep them safe. Keep the enemy away. Fill me with Your Spirit so that my thoughts, actions, and words may all glorify You. Amen.