Do you observe Ash Wednesday? While many of us may attend worship services on that day and receive ashes on our foreheads or hands, how many of us realize that Ash Wednesday is really all about repentance—not about giving up chocolate, abstaining from electronics, or promising to pray more?
At its root, Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of a season of intentional awareness of our need for repentance. Repentance is absolutely necessary when meeting God. To repent means to change our minds. Repentance involves a turning from sin, with contrition—mourning and regret for those wrongs, to God.
At Patheos.com, Jack Wellman explains repentance as “kind of like heading out for a drive down the freeway but realizing we went down the wrong way and traffic is coming straight at us. We need to turn around and go the other way. That is what it basically means to repent. We are headed down the wrong way—the way to hell—and we need to change our minds and turn around and go the other way.”
Most of us have tried living our life without God. In a recent devotion from Quiet Walk, (a free resource of walkthru.org), the author wrote, “to repent, we must change our minds about [God]. We must stop thinking of Him as something less than the Sovereign Lord of the universe. We must acknowledge God’s right to define what is right and wrong for us.”
We must trust God to reconcile us to Himself, to make peace with our Heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for all the wrongs we have committed. But it is up to us whether or not we will turn from our sins and accept what Jesus did in our place.
As we journey over these next 40 days leading up to Easter, may this be the year we truly make a U-turn. May we realize, with great sorrow and remorse, that we have been living a sin-filled, self-serving life and may we make a turnaround and speed toward God and His merciful forgiveness through Jesus.
“Turn your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: [Jesus], the main character in this drama, will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God.”
Matthew 3:11-12 (MSG)
©2017 Pamela D. Williams