Tuesday, September 20, 2016
It is no wonder to me now-a-days that Paul encouraged his fellow believers in Ephesus to "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." (Ephesians 6:11) The original Greek word for "schemes" here means mind games. The enemy has been around since our creation so he knows our tendencies, behaviors, attitudes, desires and mindsets. Therefore, it is easy for him to manipulate a weak mind or develop mind games/schemes against us.
Father God knew Satan's strategy also. So, He had John the Baptist and Jesus emphasize starting with the mind when concerning major decisions, especially about one's faith. This beginning with the mind or way we think surrounds the word "Repent". Many Christians know the call to Repent - Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. - to be most associated with John the Baptist. However, Jesus also proclaimed it - "From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'" (Matthew 4:17)
The word that Jesus was using for Repent, as He walked the roads of Israel so many years ago, is metanoeo (met-an-o-eh-o), meaning you think differently, you reconsider. But more than that it is a compound word (two words forming one). The first word is meta meaning hereafter. The second word is noieo meaning think differently. So, when you combine the two you have Hereafter Think Differently - Metanoeo.
I have heard it said that to repent is to turn 180 degrees in a given situation. However, who is to say that the direction you would be returning in is the correct one. The adjusted direction might be better but not the best because of one key ingredient. One of my fellow bloggers, Bobby Sparks, described repentance really well, he said,
"Repentance is giving up our thoughts, and opinions, and replacing them with God's thoughts, and his truth."
So, the differing mindset cannot be just any ole 180 degree turn. I can completely turn around on a given matter and leave God utterly out of the picture. No, true repentance hands over all ideas, thinking processes, dreams, imaginations, sub-conscience and conscience thoughts to God. For the non-Christian it means changing your perspective from a worldview to how Christ sees you - forgiven through His sacrifice and victory. For the Christian it means you filter your thoughts through The Holy Spirit first. It all starts in the mind.
The Book of Acts tackles the order that God set up. Acts 2:38 speaks to how you should think differently, then be baptized. Acts 3:19 talks about considering Jesus and a lifestyle with Him then turning to God so that your sins will be wiped out. Acts 11:18 says, "even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life." Observe how a changing of our minds must happen first - "repentance" before that "leads to life" or a decision for Christ. A few chapters later this idea is confirmed - "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." (Acts 20:21) First, you think differently about God, then you come to Him in faith, accepting Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Acts 3:19 does a beautiful job of saying this -
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,"
For the word Repent we have the original word mentioned above, metanoeo. However, for the phrase "turn to God" or in the KJV "be converted", the original word, epistrephō, means come. This reminds me of the songs "Come, Now Is The Time To Worship" and "Just As I Am". Once we go through thinking things through and considering Christ and His lifestyle, He bids us come. Repent and Forgiveness are not the same thing, BUT they travel hand-in-hand wherever they go. First there is a consideration in the mind of change, then there is assent of the decision in the mind by coming to God and accepting His gift of Salvation. Remember what Christ said about considering first?
"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28) Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?" (Luke 14:31)
The decision to follow Christ is one kind of Repentance that will influence the rest of your life. That repentance should carry with it the display of a Christlike lifestyle. However, this does not mean we stop repenting or thinking differently. Christians are still imperfect. After receiving Christ as our personal Savior we are not sinless, but we should be recreated to sin-less.
As Christians, think of your whole body, especially your mind and heart, as God's Court where His Throne is located, where He is located on His Throne. God is not going to desire any unwholesome thing to enter His Court. You and I are the caretakers of our temple (body), especially our mind. We must endeavor on a daily basis to filter or prohibit any unwanted thoughts, ideas or mindsets into God's Court - our mind.
Within our Christian lifestyle there will be many opportunities to change your mindset about matters. What you may have thought about a given situation will be approached differently because like the original word that Jesus used - metanoeo (met-an-o-eh-o), you think differently, you reconsider, you filter your thoughts through The Holy Spirit first, you Repent.