Scripture: Mark 1:14-15
Journal: Do you really believe that the good news is that good? Why or why not? What impact does that have on your life? How do you define repentance? How does that fit into the picture? How do repent and believe fit together?
Reflection: “The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
I’m afraid we may have gotten repentance a little backwards. To repent (metanoeō), first and foremost, is to change your mind about something. It is to change the way you think about something, or the way you see it, or understand it. That is the starting point for repentance.
But unfortunately, when it comes to change, we typically try to start with our behavior. We try to change the way we live before we actually change the way we think, which is doomed to failure. No wonder we repent and repent and repent and repent and repent in an endless cycle. No wonder our behavior never really changes. Our behavior will not change until the way we think about things changes.
That’s why the connection between repent and believe the good news is so important. They are the first words of Jesus recorded in Mark, which has to be significant. In order to experience true and lasting change, we must first believe the good news is really good. For if we do not believe it is really good news, if we believe there is actually something better, then we will never see the true and lasting change we most desperately long for.
It is an age-old temptation; the same one encountered by Adam and Eve in the garden. It is the temptation to believe there is something out there better than what God offers. Which, in essence, is to believe the good news isn’t really all that good.
Until we have tasted God’s goodness and his unfailing love deeply enough to know there is nothing better, then we will always be wandering through this life searching for someone or something to fill the deepest longings of our hearts. The problem is that nothing can. There is nothing better than Jesus. There is nothing that compares to God’s great love. We simply have not tasted it fully enough to be convinced.
So if you really want some change in your life, do not start with your behavior, start with changing the way you think about things, particularly the way you think about God. Repent and believe the good news! Change your way of thinking by believing in the goodness and love of our very good God. For when we change our way of thinking, and believe the good news is the best thing there is, then our behavior will follow.
Closing Prayer: Noting is better than you, O God. Nothing! Forgive me when I start to believe something different than that; it is a lie. Your love is better than life. Help me to taste your love and your goodness so deeply this day that it drives all the doubt and unbelief right out of my heart and soul. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.