Saturday, January 12, 2013

Repentance fruits

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 3:2-25

TO CHEW ON: "'Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father." For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.'" Luke 3:8

John the Baptist's message to Jews and Gentiles both was to repent. My Bible's footnote gives a concise definition of repentance: "The term here means an internal sorrow that results in 'turning'" - J. Lyle Story,  commentary on Luke, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1391.

John's repentance prescription was practical.

  • For the person who had extra it meant sharing with someone in need - Luke 3:11.
  • For the tax collector it meant collecting only what was 'appointed' or as we would think of it, as spelled out in the Tax Collector's Manual (Luke 3:13).
  • For the soldier it meant using power and station with integrity, not intimidating wrongdoers, accusing them falsely, or using brute strength and weapons to get more pay (Luke 3:14).
I wonder what John would have said repentance looked like to us homemakers. Perhaps to be content with our house and its furnishings, and to stop the lavish dinner party and entertaining competitions.

For us writers, he might have said, "Don't copy the words of others; if you quote, give credit. And stop worrying about who reads or doesn't read your words."

What do you hear John saying to you about repentance in your life or line or work?

All that to say that while repentance is an inner attitude, it also has an outer side. When we see how our lives don't line up with God's ideal, not only will we feel bad, but if we truly repent, we'll turn around and our actions will "bear fruits worthy of repentance."

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to back up my sorrow for sin with a change of actions.

MORE: Repent
The Greek word used for repent in Luke is metanoia.  It is derived from the Greek word metanoeo.  Keri Wyatt Kent explains what that word means in her book Deeper Into the Word:
"In Greek, the word is  metanoeo which means literally to perceive afterwards. Meta means after, but implies in that meaning to change; noeo means to perceive. So metanoeo is to change our perception. It happens when we are perhaps confronted—by a person or our conscience or the Holy Spirit—and think again about what we have done. We feel regret, but we don't stop there. We seek forgiveness, but also, we change our actions. We decide to go a new way, and then—this is absolutely key—we actually go that new way. We make it right. To repent is not just to feel guilty over our mistakes, but to choose a new path. It is to make a 180-degree turn, to turn around and walk in a new direction" - Keri Wyatt Kent, Deeper Into the Word: Reflections on 100 Words from the New Testament, p. 165.

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