When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ‘ Acts 2:37-38
I confess that I have a craving to see the supernatural. When I first began to take my faith seriously, one of my driving motivations was to see and experience some of the miraculous things I read about in the Bible. Not only did I crave the miraculous, but the absence of the miraculous in my life has often caused me to doubt my faith.
I remember crying out to God in one particular moment of doubt, asking him, “where are you, God? Is any of this real?” I went to a church service not long after that; the pastor did a classical altar call, he invited people to repent of sin and embrace the good news of Jesus to come forward. There were four or five middle-aged men in business suits who stood up and approached the front of the church. I watched them pray with the prayer team at the front of the church. At that moment, I sensed a still small voice saying to me, “this is the miracle that you crave.” Seeing a well-established, respectable man humble himself and confess their sins before that entire room was nothing short of a miracle.
Don’t get me wrong; I do believe God can and still does things that we may more easily refer to as supernatural, but we must not discredit the beauty of repentance. The word repent means changing your mind and going in a new direction, and human nature does not allow us to repent readily. There is something deeply spiritual about humble repentance.
When was the last time you repented (changed your mind) of a way of thinking? That kind of growth and transformation is part of the role that the Holy Spirit plays in the life of a believer. Each one of those shifts is often what the scriptures mean by repentance. It’s not just a one-time event, it is a constant journey of learning. To embrace those new ways of living, we must first repent of our old habits and choose to go in Jesus’ new way.
As a way of stretching yourself out of old habits, try driving to work differently this week. As you do so, ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart and make you willing to see and live in new ways.
By Aaron Bjorklund