Don’t get too worried—I still use the word repentance, and I still believe in repentance, but really, the word repentance comes with some baggage that God didn’t intend. The original Greek word that is translated repentance is the word metanoia, which simply means “to change one’s mind.”
Repentance is a simple, life-giving process of what I call breaking and making: I break my agreement with Satan and his lies, and I make my agreement with God, truth, and the promises of God’s word. Today though, in many circles of faith, repentance is attached to a rigorous emotional process that may involve crying or “going to an altar” in a church.
It is okay to cry when you repent, and I gave my life to the Lord when I repented at an altar in a church, but what saved me weren’t my tears or my trip to a wooden altar. What saved me was the fact that I changed my mind—I broke my agreement with the devil and I made my agreement with God. Repentance for the believer can be a 24/7/365 (or this year 366) experience.
For example, let’s say I get a bill in the mail for a medical procedure the insurance company won’t pay—a huge bill! Immediately I go to despair, discouragement, and fear. Ruthie sees me in a fetal position and asks me what is wrong, so I tell her. She challenges me that God is great and good and fully able to provide for the bill—“He is Jehovah Jirah, My Provider!” I respond; we join hands; I pray and break my agreement with fear and make my agreement with the promise that God will provide for me. I don’t need to whip up emotion—I simply need to change my mind from unbelief to faith. This is repentance.
Repentance—breaking and making--is the key to finding victory over the lies and tactics of the enemy. If I’m driving down a road and suddenly a memory comes to my mind that is attached to shame, right then and there I can repent by breaking my agreement with shame and making my agreement with God’s forgiveness. I don’t even need to feel bad about it, I simply need to acknowledge that God took my shame and decide to live within the finished work of Christ Jesus.
I can get free of rejection, every category of fear, disappointment, regret, self-hatred, and a host of other issues by breaking my agreement with these tormenters and making my agreement with the God who came to give me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Right now look into your heart. Are there things floating around inside your heart that are out of alignment with the covenant of God? I invite you to repent—declare to the devil that from now on, you are agreeing with God. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free! (John 8:32)