- Matthew 2:22-23
- Luke 2:39-52
- Matthew 3:1-12
- Mark 1:1-8
- Luke 3:1-18
- John 1:19-28
“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” –Matthew 3:8, ESV
Repentance means confessing you’ve done something wrong and turning away from doing that thing again. So often we can get the confessing part right, but we are left without a picture of what the turning away looks like in the every day life. I can confess that my sharp tongue did not bring glory to God, but turning away from the sharp tongue reaction means more than just hoping it doesn’t happen again. Sometimes the best repentance includes an actual plan of how you will respond the next time a particular temptation arises. How will I respond when the temptation to respond sharply arises? To be honest, I find that for me, controlling that moment has less to do with the moment and more to do with what has led up to that moment. Have I been sleeping well? If not, I must be on alert that I will be more sensitive to situations, and not always in a good kind of sensitive way. Have I been pre-occupied with something for days on end? If so, those moments where an impatient response is more likely needs a warning beacon. Bearing the fruit of repentance means creating a whole construct where the likelihood of that behavior happening again decreases dramatically. Yes, the grace of God covers me, and when I am tired, praying in the moment before responding helps. And God gave us a whole life that impacts our days’ moments. This lends credence to a paraphrase from John Ortberg where he claims that sometimes the most godly thing you can do is take a nap.
Bearing the fruit of repentance may look a little different than simply not doing the thing you were doing. Bearing the fruit of repentance means creating a whole different approach so that the temptation itself is mitigated, that you can get the time and perspective needed to, by the power of the Holy Spirit, respond in they way you should. Repentance is more than not doing. Repentance is living your life in the reality of the redemption you have received. Go, and sin no more.