This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. Jeremiah 18:1-10 NIV

The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of repent is: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life, or to change one’s mind. The Greek word used in the New Testament for repent means to turn around 180 degrees and go in the opposite direction. The Biblical understanding of repentance is: to change our thinking that leads to a change in our attitude and our feelings that changes our values which results in a change in our actions and how we live. With that understanding in mind, let’s look at Jeremiah 18:11-12.

“Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, `This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ But they will reply, `It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.'” Jeremiah 18:11-12 NIV

God wanted the people of Judah, the leaders and the ordinary people alike, to recognize that they had sinned against God and were continuing to sin. He desired that they confess their sin and turn 180 degrees around to walk in the opposite direction. There are many promises in both the Old and New Testaments that if an individual person or a group of people will repent, confess, and turn from their sinful ways, then God will forgive.

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. Yet the house of Israel says, `The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:28-32 NIV

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19 NIV

Repentance is something we all need to do. It requires us to examine our lives, our thoughts, our actions, our words. If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, then we need to confess it to God, agree with God that it is sin, turn 180 degrees around and change our attitude, our thoughts and our actions so that they are in line with what God wants us to do, to say or to think. Listen to this song by Keith Green, listen to the Holy Spirit, pray through it as God leads you.