TO CHEW ON: "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.'" Matthew 4:17
In my old Funk and Wagnall's "repent" has three meanings. I see them as three steps in one process:
1. To feel remorse or regret.
2. To change one's mind concerning past action.
3. To feel such sorrow for one's sins as to reform.
The conjunction "for" between "Repent" and "Kingdom" implies a cause-and-effect relationship between repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven. We could say it, "Repent — and this is why — because (for) the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Why do we need to repent?
In order not to miss it (the Kingdom of Heaven) in that by not repenting, we're walking in the wrong direction and won't encounter it.
In order to be part of and involved in it (and by repenting we're in the right relationship-to-God-and-circumstances space to do that).
The commentary writers of my Bible's article on this verse link repentance with "Reconciliation"
Our Call - Reconciliation
"...Left to our own devices we tend toward self-centredness and chaos (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:21-32), but coming to God in a spirit of humble repentance opens up a way for peace and reconciliation to flow (2 Chronicles 7:14)" - Raleigh Washington / Bill McCartney, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1295.
Though Jesus preached an initial life turnaround decision to repent, doesn't life with Him need a hundred little repentances throughout the day? Something bad happens and my first thought may be fear, or resentment or irritation or... But the Kingdom-of-Heaven-way is not these things but trust (Philippians 4:6-7). So I repent and turn from fear, resentment or irritation to trust via prayer with thanksgiving.
PRAYER: Dear God, please open my eyes to places where my life is not in flow with the Kingdom of Heaven. Please give me the courage and grace to repent, not only in remorseful thought but in Kingdom-affirming action. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.