John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:4–5, NASB95)

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Turning around. Why do we find it so hard to do? I mean, we often know what we are doing is wrong and yet, there is resistance to changing. We find it so had to simply t-u-r-n a-r-o-u-n-d.

When I struggle with this I will eventually trace it back to a simple truth: I don’t want to admit that I have made a mistake … even to myself. Pride is an ugly monster. It tends to take control of our lives and drive roots deep into our soul, burrowing all through our subconscious until it’s removal is near impossible.

The long tentacles of pride need to be pulled out one strand at a time. It’s a laborious process and can only be achieved through the supernatural power of the transformative work of God within our body, mind, and spirit. But before this can happen, a choice must first occur. We must want to change. And that is the intersection between faith and life. At that crossroads is something the Bible calls repentance.

Repentance – the message of faith’s beginning – is the essential birthing process for God’s transformative process. It is a personal willingness to say, “Yes, God. I stop going my own way. I turn towards You. I choose to make this my path in life … to chase after You and all that You want for me.”

As we turn around, people see and witness the external evidences of our internal choices. Take, for instance, Paul’s description of the reports he was hearing about the Thessalonians and their new life of faith: “For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9, NASB95)

Discipleship is about repentance … as a beginning and a way of life. Before there can be life and that more abundant, there is repentance.

 

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to the inner city. He welcomes your comments below.